I just got back from Tennessee where their legislature makes North Carolina’s General Assembly look like a bunch of flaming liberals. They have one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country. Under a statute called the Human Life Protection Act, doctors face up to 15 years in prison for performing abortions, even if the life of the mother is in jeopardy. It’s in states like these where the real backlash will begin.
Criminalizing abortion is just the beginning. While that may be enough to push some people to vote against Republicans, the real change will occur when the jobs stop flowing. The country won’t be just divided into red states and blue states, it will divided between states with OB-GYNs and states without them.
Idaho has a similarly restrictive abortion law. A recent segment of the radio show This American Life highlighted a an OB-GYN whose husband was an emergency room doctor as she awaited a court challenge to the draconian laws. Before the decision, she already knew several OB-GYNs who had left Idaho for Oregon. She and her husband were reluctant to leave their friends and uproot their children, but they had made plans for their children in the event that they both ended up in prison.
The doctor related a case where a woman with an ectopic pregnancy needed an abortion or she would die. Her doctor sent her to Oregon, the neighboring state, by ambulance. By the time the ambulance arrived, the woman was bleeding and had lost so much blood that she almost died. The doctor speculated that had that woman arrived in her husband’s emergency room bleeding, he might have performed an abortion to save her and then faced prison time.
At one point, she was reading aloud job postings for OB-GYNs on a message board . Beside a handful of positions offered in Oregon and Washington, were several in Idaho. She just started laughing. It was absurd to imagine a freshly-minted OB-GYN moving to Idaho to begin their career, given the state’s restrictions and penalties.
And that gets to the backlash. In states like Tennessee and Idaho, OB-GYNs are going to start fleeing the state. The ones who are there now will face the same dilemma as the doctor in the This American Life segment. They might not uproot their families immediately, but they will slowly leave those states and no doctors will replace them.
As the doctors leave, the jobs will follow. No corporation is going to locate in a state where their employees cannot safely have children. The ones who are there will start looking for new locations. Entrepreneurs aren’t going remain in states where they have to leave the state for prenatal treatment. Contrary to what Republicans want to believe, taxes and regulations aren’t the only thing companies consider when they’re looking for a new location.
Abortion is going to quickly become an economic development issue and the states with the most restrictive laws will be at the losing end. And conservatives are going to protest, claiming that the companies are discriminating against them. In reality, companies are using the free market that conservatives once worshipped, making choices in their best economic interests. They want to attract the best and brightest employees. Restrictive abortion laws will keep those people away.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >
“Abortion is going to quickly become an economic development issue”
This is laughable. Abortion is not that important. the vast majority of women love and WANT children. Not to murder them.
truth is Life begins as you leave Tennessee. it will never be fixed as long as the ignorant are involved.
Unless of course there is a zero corporate tax rate.