Texas' crazy abortion ban
Texas has pretty much just banned all abortions in the state, and the US Supreme Court has, so far, refused to step in BY ONE SINGLE VOTE.
Texas just enacted a ban on all abortions after six weeks — which is pretty much a ban on abortion, period, as most women don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks. The law provides for no exceptions for rape or incest.
Let me walk you through just how bad this new law is. And if you prefer to watch a video explainer, I did these two videos over on TikTok.
So, in a nutshell, Texas just passed a law that bans abortions after six weeks — under Roe v. Wade, you generally can’t ban abortions before 22 to 24 weeks — and rather than have the state enforce the law, they empower private citizens as anti-choice vigilantes.
Under the law, any Texan can sue anyone who “aids and abets” an abortion, other than the woman having the abortion herself. So this means any Joe-blow in Texas — literally anyone, they need no relation to you at all — can sue the doctor performing the abortion, and his staff. But the language is so intentionally vague and broad — anyone aiding and abetting the abortion — that the law also could cover your Uber driver who brought you to the clinic, the credit card company that processed your payment for the procedure, anyone who provided you the money for the procedure, and really anyone who aided you in any way (a car ride, advice, someone who recommended the doctor in question, a GoFundMe page that helps pay for the procedure, anyone or any service that raises money for Planned Parenthood, etc.)
If the person suing wins, they get $10,000, and the person they’re suing has to pay their legal fees. If the defendant, the person they sue, wins, they don’t get anything (not even legal fees). The intent of the legislation is to not only make abortion 100% illegal, but to scare anyone in the state from even saying anything openly supportive of the right to choose.
Now, the reason that the Texas legislature chose to enforce the law by private citizen lawsuits is that they hope this will help the law stand up in court as it’s not government action enforcing the law, but private action.
The US Supreme Court last night refused to step in — it could have blocked the law’s implementation, pending the litigation of the constitutionality of the law in the courts. Chief Justice Roberts, a conservative, joined the four liberals on the court in saying they would have blocked the law. Roberts explained his reasoning:
“The statutory scheme before the court is not only unusual, but unprecedented,” he wrote. “The legislature has imposed a prohibition on abortions after roughly six weeks, and then essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large. The desired consequence appears to be to insulate the state from responsibility for implementing and enforcing the regulatory regime.”
“Although the court denies the applicants’ request for emergency relief today, the court’s order is emphatic in making clear that it cannot be understood as sustaining the constitutionality of the law at issue.”
I have to add that had Justice Ginsburg not refused to step down during Obama’s term, there would have been a fifth liberal vote to stop this. A similar situation is now playing out with liberal US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who at 83, is so far refusing to step down so that President Biden can appoint his replacement before Republicans take back he US Senate — something they may just do in the 2022 elections. Also, should one single Democratic US Senator die in office, or be forced to step down because of their advancing age or illness, it’s possible a Republican governor could appoint a Republican to replace them. (The US Senate confirms Supreme Court appointments.) What Breyer is doing is incredibly dangerous and self-serving.
Sometimes Democrats truly excel at being their own worst enemies.