Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Common Thread

"Joe" does a little research, finds that "Jim" commits murder for hire, finds Jim, and pays Jim for a murder which is then consummated.

If both Joe and Jim plead guilty or are found guilty by trial, they will be incarcerated- but a longer term is usually in the cards for Joe than for Jim. If the state wishes to nail one for a particularly long sentence, the prosecutor is virtually certain to offer Jim a deal in which he testifies against Joe. (Of course, criminal history of each is taken into account.)

In most cases, when money changes hands, the individual behind the murder will be considered more liable and treated more harshly than the individual committing the act.

Not so in one of the great cultural, to a lesser extent economic, issues of the past half century or longer. USA Today reports

Idaho became the first state to pass abortion legislation modeled after Texas' six-week ban on Monday.

The Idaho House voted 51-14 with no Democratic support to pass a bill that would allow potential family members to sue any doctor who performs an abortion during a pregnancy longer than six weeks. The state Senate had already approved the bill, which now goes to Gov. Brad Little, who is likely to sign it.

Little, a Republican, signed a similar so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill into law last year. That measure includes a trigger provision that requires a federal court to rule in favor of it – which hasn’t happened yet.

The new proposed legislation is similar a Texas law that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy but before many people realize they are pregnant.

Sue any doctor who performs an abortion after six weeks. The two operative phrases include "after six weeks," given that many women don't know by then that they are pregnant. Also: "sue any doctor."

The story continues

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the Texas law to remain in place until a court challenge is decided on its merits. The Texas Supreme Court ruled against abortion providers last week, dealing what many consider to be the final blow to their legal challenges.

The Idaho bill would allow the potential father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles of a preborn child to sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $20,000 in damages within four years of the procedure. Although a rapist wouldn’t be able to file a lawsuit, their relatives could.

There it is again- an "abortion provider." In what amounts to no concession, the rapist himself wouldn't be able to sue. A lawyer who took up such a lawsuit would face consequences if he or she represented a rapist suing the victim of his violent crime for not carrying the fetus to term.

Unfortunately, there is more because

Idaho is one of several states that have taken recent steps toward restricting abortions.

In Missouri, anti-abortion proposals in the state House would allow lawsuits against those who help residents cross state lines for the procedure, as well as making the abortion of nonviable pregnancies a crime.

The Republican-controlled Senate in Oklahoma last week approved a half-dozen anti-abortion measures, including a Texas-style ban that allows private lawsuits against those who perform abortions.

Arizona lawmakers are pushing a bill that would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks, modeled after a Mississippi law.

And legislation similar to the Mississippi ban have been introduced in 11 other states this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.

The legislation in Mississippi and Idaho targets doctors, that in Oklahoma and Missouri targets doctors and other people. But they all have one thing in common. In none of those states is the woman who carried a fetus held responsible for seeking, participating in, and paying for an act which the forced-birth advocates presumably believe is killing. There is a reason for this, and it has nothing to do with when life begins or whether the expectant mother is a victim or any reason ever given. 

Already recognized as hostile to the rights of women, anti-abortion rights advocates fear that holding women responsible for their own actions would embolden their critics.  Instead, they deny women agency, fitting for a movement which believes women cannot be trusted to make their own decisions about their body.

The legislation in Idaho reflects a continuation of the animating principle of the forced-birth crusade among public officials of the past few decades.  Much of it is rooted in cowardice, and will remain so.

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