Monday, September 06, 2021

Profiles In Cowardice

Last week, by a vote of 5 to 4, the US Supreme Court refused to enjoin legislation in Texas promoting forced-birth.  As The New York Times points out

The law, known as Senate Bill 8,  and referred to as “the heartbeat bill,” prohibits abortions at about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women are even aware they are pregnant. But there is no heart at this stage of development, only electrical activity in developing cells. The heart is not fully formed until later in pregnancy.

And there is no exception for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, acts now condoned by the self-anointed anti-crime Republican Party. Most glaringly and consciously, framers of the legislation left enforcement to private citizens, understood as vigilantes. Additionally, there is no exception for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. The Republican Party, typically posing as the anti-crime party, seems rather unconcerned about the victims of violent crime.

The hypocrisy doesn't end there.  The Texas Tribune explains

Republican lawmakers’ move to ban nearly all abortions in Texas was accomplished through a huge, unprecedented expansion of who can bring a lawsuit against someone else: Under the law, anyone can sue anyone who performs, aids or intends to aid in an abortion — regardless of whether they have a personal stake in the abortion performed.

“It’s wide open,” said David Coal​​e, an appellate lawyer in Texas. “That is a radical expansion of the concept of standing.”

The expansion has far-reaching legal implications, legal experts say, by challenging the very notion of what a court is for and emboldening civilians to enforce law, a duty traditionally left to the government. It’s also a reversal by Texas Republicans on tort law, in which they have typically sought to limit the ability to sue, not expand it.

You don't have to be approaching Social Security age or AARP age to remember the days when Republicans, not only in Texas but elsewhere, waxed indignant over what they claimed was an overly litigious culture. 

But in one important instance, the anti-abortion rights community has remained true to form. Anyone can sue anyone who performs, aids or intends to aid in an abortion.

Performs, aids, or intends to aid in an abortion. Excluded in the forced-birth jihad is the individual who initiates, requests, and pays for the termination of pregnancy. 

That would be the woman, to whom the State of Texas denies agency; the woman, who is held blameless while anyone and everyone, from the doctor to the unsuspecting Uber driver who transports her to the site of an abortion, can be successfully sued; the woman, who- if we are to believe supporters of the law- has asked that her baby be killed.

It's only fitting, albeit inappropriate and cowardly, that the opinion was unsigned.  It was a cowardly approach to condoning a law passed by cowardly legislators to please a cowardly movement of forced-birth activists. 

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