For decades now, anti-abortion activists have shifted their aims to block every kind of reproductive freedom. The goal isn’t merely to overturn Roe v. Wade, the historic Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion, a decision which is still widely popular in all political polling. The anti-choice activists have moved to chipping away reproductive freedoms at the state level, writing and lobbying for draconian anti-women bills in deep-red states like Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, etc. Over the years in Texas, Republicans have been on anti-woman crusade, pushing legislation that would curtail abortion rights at every level. The latest from the Texas GOP is the “six week abortion ban.” Meaning, no woman can get an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. That’s usually around the time when a woman has missed her period and maybe is thinking about taking a pregnancy test. It’s insane. Well, the law is going through because SCOTUS shrugged it off:
The Supreme Court did not take action early Wednesday on a request to block a Texas law prohibiting most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, allowing the most restrictive abortion law in the nation to go into effect. The law, known as Senate Bill 8, amounts to a nearly complete ban on abortion in Texas, one that will further fuel legal and political battles over the future of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. The law makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.
An emergency application from abortion providers seeking to block the law remains pending, and the court is expected to rule on it shortly. In the application, abortion providers wrote that the law “would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85 percent of Texas abortion patients (those who are six weeks pregnant or greater) and likely forcing many abortion clinics ultimately to close.”
Supreme Court precedents forbid states from banning abortion before fetal viability, the point at which fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, or about 22 to 24 weeks. But the Texas law was drafted to make it difficult to challenge in court. Usually, a lawsuit seeking to block a law because it is unconstitutional would name state officials as defendants. But the Texas law bars state officials from enforcing it and instead deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or “aids and abets” it.
The patient may not be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, people who help pay for the procedure, even an Uber driver taking a patient to an abortion clinic are all potential defendants. Plaintiffs, who need not have any connection to the matter or show any injury from it, are entitled to $10,000 and their legal fees recovered if they win. Prevailing defendants are not entitled to legal fees.
[From The NY Times]
I had not been following the Texas situation, so I did not realize that this law basically deputizes citizens into becoming Abortion Police. That’s what it is – if your neighbor heard that you had an abortion at eight weeks, she can sue you, your husband, your doctor, your nurse and hell, your employer too. In addition to how flatly wrong this is for reproductive rights and women in general, this is a f–king legal catastrophe which will cripple the civil courts in Texas. What in the world??
As for SCOTUS brushing this off… yeah, the plan from the anti-choice people has been to create the “perfect test case” to overturn Roe. While they’ve been focused on state-by-state efforts to curtail reproductive freedom, they’ve also been trying to write the anti-choice laws in such a way that these cases will make it to the Supreme Court. And in the anti-choicer’s fever dream, SCOTUS will overturn Roe and then… well, they actually haven’t planned that far. Because by all accounts, the moment Roe is overturned (and it probably will be in our lifetimes), it will cause an enormous realignment in the modern political system in America. I completely believe we need to fight for Roe, but I’ve tried to be realistic this whole time. I feel strongly that Roe was already overturned the second Donald Trump won. Roe was overturned the moment Trump put three justices on the court.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.
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