Will it hamper female mortality, health and economic advancement on a par with some of the most anti-abortion countries around the world? Or will outcomes be more like those in France, Germany, Italy and Ireland, where restrictions of varying degrees are in place (including a virtual ban in Ireland)?
Don't know. And it's a question that goes well beyond my first core disagreement, which is on the question of whether women should have the power to make this decision wherever they live.
But I credit Douthat for this observation in the course of noting that anti-abortion Ireland shows positive results for women in many respects:
Now it’s also true that Ireland, like most of Europe, is to the left of Texas on many economic issues. All the abortion restrictions described above coexist with universal health care, which Rick Perry’s state conspicuously lacks.
So perhaps, it might be argued, abortion can be safely limited only when the government does more to cover women’s costs in other ways — in which case Texas might still be flirting with disaster.
But note that this is a better argument for liberalism than for abortion.
It suggests, for instance, that liberal donors and activists should be spending more time rallying against Perry’s refusal to take federal Medicaid financing than around Wendy Davis’s famous filibuster.
It implies that the quest to “turn Texas blue” should make economic policy rather than late-term abortion its defining issue.
And it raises the possibility that a pro-life liberalism — that once-commonplace, now-mythical persuasion — would actually have a stronger argument to make than the one Texas’s critics are making now.
Texas is famously stingy when it comes to providing support for health care. Arkansas miraculously held its hand out for Obamacare's proffered financial riches, so there's that to suggest we are somewhat different. But I don't see much support within Arkansas's most outspoken anti-abortion lobby for government-supported universal health care or other support for families, particularly including such important preventive measures as birth control pills and other family planning services. Correct me if I'm wrong.
PS — If you'd like to delve a little to deeper in how Texas provides for its women in addition to restricting their abortion rights, this Planned Parenthood release can help.