Every day, I read another distressing headline about the craziness going on in the United States. At the top of today’s crazy headlines is the new law that went into effect in Texas yesterday. In their neverending quest to deny women the right to determine whether or not they want to be pregnant, lawmakers in Texas crafted a law that seems to have come straight out of East Germany in the 1970s.
At this writing, it is now illegal for a woman to get an abortion in Texas if she is more than six weeks pregnant. Most people don’t even know if they are pregnant at that point. This law basically outlaws abortion, since most abortions are done after six weeks gestation. What makes this new law even more sinister, though, is that it encourages neighbors to inform on each other. The Supreme Court, stacked with Trump era justices, has declined to intervene on this barbaric new law. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the liberal justices.
The law is unique, in that it puts enforcement on the population and is difficult to challenge in court. According to The New York Times:
Usually, a lawsuit seeking to block a law because it is unconstitutional would name state officials as defendants. However, the Texas law, which makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, bars state officials from enforcing it and instead deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or “aids and abets” it.
So basically, if your right wing nutjob neighbor Bubba gets wind that you’re pregnant and you get an abortion, Bubba can sue your doctor, the facility that performed the abortion, and anyone else who “aided and abetted” your abortion. I guess that means if you took an Uber or your mom gave you money for an airline ticket, your driver and your mom could be sued for “aiding and abetting” your abortion. Maybe Bubba could sue the airline that transported you to a distant city for the procedure… even if it was in another state.
Interestingly enough, Bubba can’t sue you for having a procedure. He can only sue anyone involved in your getting the procedure. However, Bubba can sue, even if the procedure isn’t done in Texas, as long as the person having the abortion is a Texas resident. So, Texas ladies, you’d better keep your personal life private.
Again from the article:
The patient may not be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, people who help pay for the procedure, and even an Uber driver taking a patient to an abortion clinic are all potential defendants. Plaintiffs, who do not need to live in Texas, have any connection to the abortion 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.
Naturally, a lot of people are pissed off about this new legislation. I am pretty pissed off about it myself, although it’s not going to affect me personally. As I have mentioned many times in this blog, I am 100% pro-choice. It’s not because I cheer for people having abortions. I personally find abortion sickening. It’s because it’s simply no one else’s business what kind of medical care someone else gets.
There are times when an abortion is indicated for medical reasons. I don’t think anyone– especially someone not personally involved in the pregnancy– has ANY right to insert themselves in someone else’s private medical business. Moreover, given that we don’t do fuck all to help people who might choose abortion, nor do we do much once those babies are born, I think this law is especially wrong-headed and cruel.
I am still a Texas voter, even though I live in Germany. This shit just makes me more determined to vote straight blue from now on… not that it will do any good. Makes me wonder, though, if people will get desperate enough to get violent about having abortions.
Texas is a famously gun friendly state, especially now that Texans can openly carry weapons without a permit or any training. What if Bubba decides to sue someone because of their choice to have an abortion and gets shot in the head for meddling in someone’s private medical affairs? I’d like to think that’s an unlikely scenario, but given how absolutely crazy things are in the United States right now, I could actually see it happening. People are unhinged, and this kind of interference can lead to desperate and tragic consequences.
I worry about the developing fetuses that may suffer needless pain because there’s something congenitally wrong with them that would make being born cruel. I am concerned about twelve year old girls who have barely reached puberty being forced to give birth. I am concerned about 49 year old women who have chronic diseases having to continue pregnancies that put them at risk. I worry about the teenager who got pregnant by her brother or her uncle or her father… or her abusive boyfriend. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
Edited to add, Rachel Maddow points out why this new law is so chilling and disgusting on so many levels!
I know some people think abortion is always wrong. To those people, I say “don’t have an abortion” if you think they’re morally wrong. You have no right to dictate another person’s medical care, especially if you’re not going to be around to help deal with the consequences.
What especially pisses me off, though, is that I haven’t heard of any legislation that makes medical care less expensive and more accessible for all of these women. I haven’t heard of any legislation that makes the men who got the women pregnant in these situations more accountable for their parts in the unintended pregnancies. Where are the laws that support the pregnant people who are going to be forced to give birth? Haven’t seen any, yet… but I have seen a lot of people slut shaming and putting it entirely on women to be sure they are doing everything to prevent unintended pregnancies.
Once again, the Trump era has delivered another disaster to the United States in the form of forced birthing and neighbors reporting on each other, as they might if they were in East Germany and under the watchful eyes of the Stasi. It’s creepy and sickening, and it makes me glad I don’t have a daughter who might be affected by this intrusion. But the people who are going to suffer the most are the poor, who won’t be able to simply move out of Texas and take care of this private business on their own. Hmmm… one can only hope those souls, who will be born into poverty or other difficult situations, will grow up and vote for Democrats.