You probably don't need me to tell you about this, but it is such a stunning perversion of law, the US constitution, and democracy I feel I need to say something about it -- lest readers not realize what the new laws in Texas are encouraging.
Last week in The Nation, Katha Pollitt predicated just what is happening: If Roe v Wade is overturned, the future will be worse than the past: Before women were regarded as unchaste, promiscuous, there was anger against the coming birth of a child who would end a burden on the community; in fact socieities colluded in letting such children die (a history of infanticide in which the single woman was blamed): Child Murder and British Culture Polllitt predicts now the pregnant woman will be treated like a criminal, and the medical procedure within a woman's body treated like murder.
Heather Cox Richaredson offers a history of how abortion was made into a political issue, and then passions attached to it by propaganda (I'll add especially by the Catholic Church) so it's central to a culture war, and relentless propaganda has made a procedure the majority of Americans approve of before the 5th to 6th month of pregnancy, becomes in the papers something profoundly socially unacceptable in public at any time.
Texas is criminalizing women through their biology: if a heartbeat can be detected in their uterus, it's declared that there is a child there who must be protected from the mother. Most women don't know they are pregnant within the first six weeks. All the people a woman might possibly depend upon to help her cope -- from relatives, to friends, to doctors and nurses, cab drivers, anyone who gives her any help is subject to arrest. The person deputizing him or herself will get $10,000 if the case against the person is proved. If the person is found innocent of charges, he or she must pay all costs. As of midnight last night you need have no permit or any kind of control to buy a gun and carry it. The GOP also said there will be watchers at the polls to stop fraud (it is so infinitesimal this is an unreal charge); these watchers are in effect more vigilantes; they too can carry guns, so what is aimed at is all voters that GOP people don't want to vote can be stopped, arrested, harassed, and otherwise harmed, hurt and kill. Not only do officers kill ordinary people with impunity, there are "stand your ground" laws which permit the ordinary citizen to shoot to kill if they deem someone else a threat. Trayvon Martin's murderer was dclared not guilty of murder on these grounds. Done yesterday after the governor threatened to arrest all democrats who didn't show up for the vote. They showed.
Heather Cox Richardson: "Last night at midnight, a new law went into effect in Texas. House Bill 1927 permits people to carry handguns without a permit, unless they have been convicted of a felony or domestic violence. "
Nancy Northrup discusses the situation.
Susan Cameron of NPR shifts the discussion to how this is an attack on "the abortion industry" -- medical facilities, doctors, all who provide for women's health as suspects
Nancy Pelosi today: The Court’s cowardly decision to uphold a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health is staggering. The House will bring up Congresswoman Judy Chu’s Women’s Health Protection Act to enshrine into law reproductive health care for all women across America.
What is so distressing is the encouragement to open violence is rarely discussed; we hear what women with money will try to do out-of-state, but not that lawlessness is essentially being called law:
I thought perhaps Ruth Marcus in her column for the Wash Post would talk about the loss of a rule of laws, but alas, she does not -- though she comes close. Apparently if something is called legal, then to her mind, it's law. But see Erwin Chemerinsky: Texas is encouraging people to sue anyone who exercises a constitutional right.
Only Elie Mystal in The Nation discusses how dangerous this new law is quite literally:
"The law stipulates that any US citizen can sue a Texas abortion provider, or sue a person suspected of “aiding or abetting” abortion services. The plaintiffs don’t even have to be residents of Texas to sue Texans suspected of helping people make private choices. Should the lawsuit prevail, the person who brought the suit will receive $10,000, plus attorney fees. Texas has created a cash incentive to haul not just doctors and nurses into court but also lawyers, reproductive rights counselors, and even receptionists.