if abortions become illegal, here’s how the government will prosecute women who have them

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(erin k. robinson/ for the washington post)you’ve heard the stories of the coat hanger and the back alley, those bloody days before roe v. wade. sen. patrick j. leahy told one recently at the supreme court confirmation hearings for judge neil m. gorsuch. as a vermont prosecutor in 1968, three years before the court struck down state abortion bans, cops woke leahy up in the middle of the night, because “a young co-ed nearly died from bleeding from a botched abortion.” the senator’s drift was clear: if confirmed, gorsuch could cast a vote, or several, to bring back those horrors (if not the archaic phrase “co-ed”).this is by now a rehearsed conflict. mention dying women to antiabortion activists, and they insist that women weren’t prosecuted for having unlawful abortions before roe v. wade and won’t be if abortion is banned. women, in this formulation, are victims of cruel abortionists. indeed, leahy wound up prosecuting the seedy go-between in that case, not the woman.it is a curious but long-standing proposition by the antiabortion movement: abortion is murder, but women shouldn’t be held accountable. conservative groups were publicly aghast when candidate donald ......

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