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Texans have tried to do away with allowing a woman’s “right to choose” since before the Supreme Court ruling Roe v Wade was Constitutional. Less than a decade ago, Texas instituted legislation — targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) laws — to make it harder for clinics to operate within its borders. Unfortunately, on Sept. 1, 2021, legislators took “protecting the unborn” a step too far with their newest law, S.B. 8, that prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after an ultrasound detects a fetal heartbeat or embryonic cardiac activity — as early as six weeks after conception.
Then, in an extremely despicable move, the night before the abortion ban went into effect, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear arguments in the case against Texas’ newest law that relegates women to 3rd class citizenship status. The justices’ passive-aggressive response places women in the hands of a militant organization empowered to treat their neighbors as though they are not living in America but under a dictatorship.
The abortion ban is extreme in many ways, starting with the expectation of a woman knowing she is pregnant before she is 6 weeks along. This is sooner than most women know there is even a possibility of a pregnancy. Before S.B. 8’s passage, the strictest abortion law allowed abortions until the 20th week.
Next is the way the law will be enforced:
The Texas law is different from previous bans in that it prohibits the state from enforcing the ban, instead, authorizing private citizens to bring civil suits against anyone who ‘aides or abets’ an abortion.
Lawmakers deputized abortion opponents — essentially, any private citizen can legally harass anyone deemed an enemy of the unborn. Additionally, this bizarre law will not punish a woman who has a post-six-week abortion. The only people to be held liable are those who helped her. S.B. 8 encourages anyone, even those outside Texas, to sue abortion providers and others aid and abet in the so-called crime.
The very thought of this conjures up the kind of scenes one might expect to see in a dystopian story like “The Handmade’s Tail” — pitting neighbors against one another and offering a monetary reward of $10,000 per defendant. Or worse, characters who give little thought to a situation’s outcome as long as they believe it was “justified” and they were victorious; similar to those in “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.”
The Texas-sanctioned vigilanteism includes “suing” everyone who might be unintentionally involved, like Uber or Lyft drivers.
Legal experts are warning that people talking about abortion on social media could be subjected to lawsuits. Suits like these could require subpoenas for IP Addresses, text messages, and phone logs, which, if allowed would be disastrous for America.
Hopefully, this latest version of Republican vigilanteism does not play out in Texas’ streets with hatred and blood. Unfortunately, the abortion ban-related violence could be more horrific than the January 6th insurrection earlier this year.
Finally, SCOTUS’s handling of the complaint filed against the Abortion Ban can be likened to a back-alley deal, unsavory enough to keep from the public eye. The case was treated as though it required an emergency response; the justices had it before them less than three days and did not hear oral arguments before determining in a late-night 5-4 decision that the law should be left in place.
The one-paragraph majority decision was unsigned. Whereas, the responses by those in decent were lengthy and signed; Chief Justice John Roberts along with three liberal justices, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor.
Twitter is packed with posts in opposition to Texas’s abortion ban. One user, GMQ Susan suggested an approach to overcome the ultra-Conservative stance against the freedom to choose. She wrote:
If you force us to have more babies, we’ll raise Democrats.
Another user posted a 1996 clip of deceased stand-up satirist George Carlin talking about abortion. He said the problem stems from differing thoughts on when life begins.
He asked “why, why, why” do conservatives care so much about babies from the point of conception to nine months old but after children are born conservatives forget kids have needs like food, education, and medical care?
Carlin offers his audience a threefold answer. First, conservatives want women to breed soldiers to die for them. Second, they hate women, and third, conservatives want women to be relegated to being broodmares for the country.
Recent comments on the YouTube video vary from “this is 100 percent relevant” in light of the Texas ban against abortion to someone suggesting that perhaps the new law is due to declining voluntary military recruits. One man asked:
Also, if a fetus is a human, then why couldn’t I collect the Child tax credit when my wife was pregnant last year?
Opinion by Cathy Milne-Ware
Planned Parenthood: What Are TRAP Laws?
The New York Times: Republicans Are Giving Abortion Opponents Power Over the Rest of Us; by Michelle Goldberg
Bloomberg: How the New Texas Abortion Law Turns the Public Into Enforcers; by Kimberly Robinson
USA Today: Talking about abortion online in Texas? What you say on Facebook or Twitter could hurt you; by Jessica Guynn
Texas-Tribune: Texas law banning abortion as early as six weeks goes into effect as the U.S. Supreme Court takes no action; by
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Helmuts R’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License