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Some red state residents moving due to new abortion laws

Supporters of choice in red states all over the country are weighing leaving their homes for states where their views are shared.
Some red state residents moving due to new abortion laws
Posted at 5:46 PM, May 19, 2023

It's an interesting consequence of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

"It's like a mini death that you just have to let go of. You wish that something would change, and something has to give, but it just doesn't," said lifelong Idaho resident Paige Erbele.

People who grew up in red states, but don't share red views on abortion, are watching their states change drastically in less than a year. Some states with Republican-majority legislatures have near-total bans on abortion. Others have limited what doctors can do. A few have criminalized traveling for the procedure.

Erbele has lived her entire life in Idaho and says views on abortion have permeated conversations in the last year. And because of this culture, she's made the difficult decision to leave.

"I love Idaho, it's my hometown, it always will be. But, my values don't align with the values that I see in the state right now."

She's not alone. Supporters of choice in red states all over the country are weighing leaving their families for states where their views are shared. 

Benjamin Kimball grew up a devout Mormon in Utah, and says abortion is and always was a black and white issue there.

"It was just seen as a bad topic. The reason it was so bad is because it was taught as a part of the religion," Kimball explained.

SEE MORE: South Carolina House passes 6-week abortion ban

And for a long time, he agreed. It wasn't until he studied abroad and met his now wife, that he says his perspective broadened.

"I started to have these political conversations and realized I didn't know a whole ton," he said.

As a husband, he's worried about what these laws mean for his wife and the care she would receive should she get pregnant.

"Her family has had some history around complicated and difficult pregnancies," Kimball said, "So even just for a wanted pregnancy that we want to carry to full term. You know, she may, if there's any kind of complications, we may have less access to competent health care professionals."

Abortion is banned after 18 weeks in Utah and multiple laws, including a trigger ban and a law that would shut down clinics, are making their way through the court system.

"What exactly does it mean to have the life of the mother at risk?" Kimball wondered. "Does that mean what we consider to be a risk to the health of the mother ... if she has a 5% mortality chance? A 50%? 75%? It's not a really easy line to draw. We are decidedly uncomfortable with the idea of lawmakers drawing that line for us. That's something that we would like to draw for ourselves and personally and with God and you know, in our very personal lives and with our health care professional."

Kimball says they've made the difficult decision to put off having children for now and to leave the state during her potential future pregnancy.

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