I’d like to note that Texas is passing strong restrictions on abortion. They’ve passed a “heartbeat bill” banning abortions after six weeks, and it seems likely that they’ll pass a trigger bill outlawing abortion almost entirely, contingent on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade.
I’m not a Supreme Court expert, but I know people who are sincerely worried about Roe v Wade being undone. This would be a pretty big deal breaker for my fiancée (and by extension myself). From what I read, the Supreme Court will make a Roe v Wade ruling in the middle of 2022.
Does this factor into your considerations? I feel like this would be a pretty big deal for the rationalist community at large.
As a non-American: If the problem just applies to Texas or to Republican states in general, are there substantial barriers to getting an abortion in another state (for rationalists)? I have heard that argument made often online for why passing state level abortion bans is ineffective.
My guess is anyone with access to MIRI’s resources could get an out-of-state abortion easily enough in most circumstances, but not all abortions are planned and elective- if someone has a medical emergency in late pregnancy, they won’t have time to fly elsewhere. Even if the law has a carve out for life-of-the-mother, you’re still surrounded by doctors with no experience doing abortions and are more likely to have ethical qualms, making them slower to decide an abortion is necessary (which is a feature for some people and a bug for others).
Going out of state for non-emergency abortions should be an option for MIRI employees and their spouses, but that benefits from a long list of privileges that many Americans don’t have:
ability to take off work for days with very little notice
familiarity with travel
money for travel, hotel, and missed work (which may take multiple days, if the state you travel to has a mandatory waiting period)
ability to identify and book with a provider in another state
Someone else who has all those things and loves you enough to go with you
These add up to be pretty big barriers to American poor people. To the extent this isn’t reflected in the state-level statistics, I expect it’s because even people living in states where abortion is technically legal may live many hundreds of miles from a provider, and so face much the same problems. The map in this article gives an idea of the scope of the problem, although overstates it because the less served areas are also less populated.
Even for a sophisticated middle class person with plenty of time to plan, you still need to travel at a stressful time and then travel back having just undergone an invasive medical procedure (and worry what happens if you need to seek local help for the side effects), and either stick around for days or travel back while still suffering the short term effects of it.
From what I understand, it’s difficult enough to get an abortion as it is. Clinics are rather rare, insurance doesn’t always cover it, there may be mandatory waiting periods and counseling, etc. I don’t think it would be impossible to still get one, but the added inconvenience is not trivial. At minimum, a big increase in travel time and probable insurance complications. But if someone here knows more than me, I’d very much like to hear it.
This would be a deal breaker for me too.