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Tag: abortion vigilantes

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Former Bush Speechwriter: GOP May Soon ‘Regret’ Texas Abortion Law

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

This week, Texas' draconian anti-abortion law went into effect, and the U.S. Supreme Court — in a 5-4 decision — let the law proceed. Far-right social conservatives in the Republican Party are delighted, as they are optimistic that the High Court will overturn Roe v. Wade. But one conservative who isn't celebrating is journalist/author David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. In an article published by The Atlantic this week, Frum warns fellow conservatives that their anti-abortion victories could lead to a major backlash against the Republican Party.

According to the 61-year-old Frum, the Texas law and the possible end of Roe v. Wade will bring about a seismic shift in the abortion debate in the United States.

"Pre-Texas," Frum argues, "opposition to abortion offered Republican politicians a lucrative, no-risk political option. They could use pro-life rhetoric to win support from socially conservative voters who disliked Republican economic policy, and pay little price for it with less socially conservative voters who counted on the courts to protect abortion rights for them."

Frum continues, "Pre-Texas, Republican politicians worried a lot about losing a primary to a more pro-life opponent, but little about a backlash if they won the primary by promising to criminalize millions of American women. That one-way option has just come to an end."

The Texas law outlaws abortion about six weeks into a woman's pregnancy. Because many women who become pregnant don't know that they're pregnant until after six weeks, the law effectively prohibits abortion in most cases — even if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. To make matters worse, the law allows private citizens to sue someone for $10,000 if they "aid and abet" an abortion. And abortion rights activists are warning that even an Uber driver who drives a pregnant woman to an abortion clinic could be sued for that amount.

Because of the Texas law and the Supreme Court's response to it, Frum predicts, abortion will be a major issue going into the 2022 midterms.

"Today, accountability has suddenly arrived," Frum warns fellow conservatives. "Texas Republicans have just elevated abortion rights to perhaps the state's supreme ballot issue in 2022. Perhaps they have calculated correctly. Perhaps a Texas voting majority really wants to see the reproductive lives of Texas women restrained by random passersby. If that's the case, that's an important political fact, and one that will reshape the politics of the country in 2024."

Frum adds, "But it's also possible that Texas Republicans have miscalculated. Instead of narrowly failing again and again, feeding the rage of their supporters against shadowy and far-away cultural enemies, abortion restricters have finally, actually, and radically got their way."

Countless critics of the GOP have argued that Republicans are pushing voter suppression bills because they know how unpopular their ideas are. But Frum speculates that even voter suppression laws may not be enough to prevent Americans from expressing their disdain for the Texas law at the polls.

"There's already compelling evidence that Texas Republicans understand how detested their new abortion law will soon be — not only in New York City and Los Angeles, but also in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth," Frum writes. "They took the precaution of preceding the nation's most restrictive abortion law with one of the nation's most suppressive voting laws…. But the Texas voting law only impedes voting; it does not prevent it."

According to Frum, "Republicans do best when the electorate is satisfied and quiet" but "face disaster when the electorate is mobilized and angry" — and the Texas law may result in a lot of angry, mobilized voters.

"Texas Republicans have just bet their political future in a rapidly diversifying and urbanizing state on a gambit: cultural reaction plus voter suppression," Frum stresses. "The eyes of Texas will be upon them indeed. The eyes of the nation will be upon them too."

Texas Abortion Ban Promotes Misogyny, Cruelty, And Abusive Litigation

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The Supreme Court didn't just silently overturn Roe v. Wade by allowing a Texas law banning abortion at six weeks to go into effect. The Supreme Court, with its three Trump justices—two of them appointed through precedent-shattering Republican maneuvering—allowed Texas to put a bounty on the heads of anyone involved in any way in an abortion performed after six weeks gestation. (And never forget that six weeks is six weeks after the first day of a woman's last period—meaning many women don't yet know they're pregnant at that time.)

In a must-read Twitter thread, legal analyst Jay Willis spells out the ways the new Texas law enables anti-choice vigilantes. That starts with the fact that anyone, whether or not they have ever met the woman obtaining medical care, can sue anyone who "aids and abets" an abortion. If the vigilante wins in court, they get $10,000 and their attorney's fees. Someone who's wrongly accused and proves it in court gets … to pay their own attorney's fees. But it gets worse.

"SB8 also allows lawsuits against people who INTEND to perform abortion or 'aid or abet' abortion," Willis writes. "This is an open invitation to anti-choice activists to file lawsuits against everyone they don't like and try to drown them in frivolous litigation." And since the anti-abortion right has been funding networks of lawyers for years, they're equipped for a lot of frivolous litigation. On top of all of the abusive ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands seeking to use the law to continue victimizing and controlling women who have left them.

Not only that, Willis explains, "People can bring suits up to FOUR YEARS later. And if a court decision briefly protects the right to abortion and then gets overruled, defendants can't rely on that, EVEN IF the decision was good law at the time. Perpetual threat of devastating liability." That's not the only failsafe Republicans built into the law to make any victory over it fragile and temporary, either: "the law specifies that any court ruling that any part of SB8 is unconstitutional is temporary and can be overruled as soon as a friendlier court comes along. Utterly deranged, but also, what the conservative legal movement has been working for for decades."

Banning abortion at six weeks is an extreme attack on women's right to make decisions about their own bodies. But it wasn't enough for Texas Republicans. They went ahead and hedged it around with financial penalties even for the falsely accused, and attached to it a license for personal cruelty.

This law is just one of a series of laws Texas Republicans have just passed to turn the state into a dystopian hellscape in which violence, ignorance, and vigilantes rule:

That Texas Republicans would do all this is horrifying but not surprising. The far bigger problem is that the Supreme Court let them.