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Tag: texas abortion ban

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 and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Texas Judge Blocks Vigilante Lawsuit Against Planned Parenthood

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

In a small but significant victory against Texas' new draconian law limiting abortion access, a judge has temporarily blocked one of the state's largest forced-birth groups and its vigilante pals from suing the nation's largest provider of reproductive healthcare. The decision, which is by no means a permanent solution, comes as corporations headquartered or operating within the Lone Star State are also speaking out against the law.

Reuters:

Travis County District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble granted Planned Parenthood a temporary restraining order against the anti-abortion group, Texas Right to Life, blocking the group and its allies from using an unusual mechanism of the Texas law that enables private citizens to sue anyone who provides or "aids or abets" an abortion after six weeks.
[...]
Guerra Gamble said in her three-page written order that allowing the so-called private enforcement mechanism to go forward while Planned Parenthood took further legal action would cause "probable, irreparable and imminent injury" that could not be cured later.
[...]
The Travis County restraining order does not bar others from using the law against Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers in Texas. A hearing on a possible further injunction was set for Sept. 13.

As noted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America's vice president for public policy litigation and law Helene Krasnoff, while Guerra Gamble's decision is one worth celebrating, it is not enough to protect Texans' access to reproductive healthcare. "[M]ake no mistake: this is not enough relief for Texas," she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the corporate wing of the nation is beginning to speak out. Two top dating apps based in Texas were quick to take a stance against the obscene new law.. Austin-based Bumble announced its plans on Twitter hours after the Supreme Court declined to block the law from taking effect at midnight on Wednesday.

As CNBC reported Thursday, the Match dating empire wasn't far behind.

Match Group CEO Shar Dubey also announced in a memo to employees that she would personally create a fund to support Texas-based workers and dependents who needed to seek care outside of the state, a company spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.
Match, based in Dallas, owns a bevy of dating companies, including its namesake app Match along with Hinge, Tinder and OKCupid.
"As I have said before, the company generally does not take political stands unless it is relevant to our business. But in this instance, I personally, as a woman in Texas, could not keep silent," Dubey said in the memo. "Surely everyone should see the danger of this highly punitive and unfair law that doesn't even make an exception for victims of rape or incest. I would hate for our state to take this big step back in women's rights," she added.

Dating apps aren't the only businesses speaking out.

Lyft and Uber Technologies Inc. said they will cover all legal fees for the ride-hail companies' drivers sued under a law that puts in place a near-total ban on abortion.
Lyft will also donate $1 million to women's health provider Planned Parenthood, chief executive Logan Green said on Twitter.
[...]
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted in response to Green's announcement that his company would cover drivers' legal fees in the same way, thanking Green for taking the initiative.

Yet, as The New York Times notes, other companies' silence on the issue is deafening.

When Texas lawmakers advanced a restrictive voting rights bill this year, American Airlines and Dell Technologies, two of the state's biggest employers, were early and vocal critics of the effort.
But this week, as a law that prohibits most abortions after about six weeks took effect in Texas, both companies declined to comment on the measure.
[...]
Two dozen major companies contacted by The New York Times on Friday either did not reply or declined to comment. Among those that would not say something were McDonald's, a sponsor of International Women's Day; PwC, a major supporter of diversity and inclusion efforts; and Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, which led a corporate backlash last year against a restrictive voting bill in Georgia, where they have their headquarters.
Many of the biggest employers in Texas, including AT&T, Oracle, McKesson and Phillips 66, declined to comment. Even companies that are quick to speak up on social issues, including Patagonia and Levi's, did not say anything about the new law. And Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that teams up with big companies to "build workplaces that work for women," declined to comment.

After Texas Gov. Greg Abbott crowed about companies' support of the anti-choice law, namedropping Tesla's Elon Musk, the electric car pioneer offered a lukewarm response.

As Fortune noted on Friday, the seeming indifference of corporations to the Texas law is startling … and a bit of a change.

In 2019, almost 200 corporate leaders stood up for abortion rights. Amid a rash of antiabortion legislation throughout the U.S. South, they said: no more. Abortion restrictions are bad for business.
[...]
And yet this time around, the business backlash is missing.
"Their silence is shameful," says Shelley Alpern, director of shareholder advocacy for Rhia Ventures who has worked to galvanize companies around reproductive rights. "Their very integrity is at stake."

Fortune reached out to "about a dozen" companies about the new law, but most did not respond. What will it take to get the nation's industry to flex their significant capital and muscle when it comes to reproductive rights? It's unclear. But as Fortune notes, recent research indicates that as much as two-thirds of the college-educated workforce would refuse a new job in Texas due to the new law.

Compulsory Childbearing Comes To Texas

For nearly half a century, Americans have lived in a country in which safe, legal abortions were generally accessible to those needing them. The constitutional protection established in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was firm and secure. That fact, paradoxically, worked to the political advantage of activists who reject abortion rights.

They could pose as moderates trying merely to set some reasonable limits. So they pushed to require parental consent for minors, forbid "partial-birth" abortions, impose waiting periods, prevent post-viability abortions and saddle clinics with extensive regulations in the name of safeguarding health. In many states, they got their way.

But the new Texas abortion law should dispel any illusions about their real, and immoderate, purpose. What they want is to deprive all women of the liberty to decide whether to carry pregnancies to term. They favor a regime of compulsory motherhood from which there is no escape.

The law prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, a point at which many women and girls don't even know they're pregnant. It allows no exception for a woman who has been gang-raped or a girl who has been molested by a relative. It would punish not only doctors and nurses who perform abortions but anyone who furnishes the slightest assistance to someone who gets one.

The scheme is fiendishly clever, delegating enforcement to private citizens. They are empowered to sue providers and anyone who "aids and abets" an abortion — and collect a minimum of $10,000, plus lawyers' fees, for each abortion performed. It is designed to turn Texas into a nest of profit-seeking narcs.

This setup was meant to avert a constitutional challenge, and so far, it's working. Because state officials have no role in enforcing the law, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, it has no authority to block it.

Part of the sinister genius of the law is that it doesn't ever have to be used to succeed in extinguishing the right to abortion. Clinics and medical personnel will be at risk of onerous judgments if they terminate pregnancies after the cutoff point. If they win their cases, they would still have to pay their own attorneys — and if they lose, they would have to pay the lawyers who sued them.

By merely cooperating with women who choose to exercise a constitutional right, providers would invite severe financial penalties. The law may eliminate the vast majority of abortions even if no one ever files a lawsuit or collects a reward. It promises to render the constitutional right null and void.

You may assume the effects will be confined to the Lone Star State. Women with money may figure they can always drive to New Mexico or fly to Chicago to terminate a pregnancy. But as Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe told me, the law has an unlimited reach.

If a Texas woman gets an abortion anywhere, any person — not just any Texan — would probably be able to file a lawsuit and collect rewards from the clinic and anyone who gave her any help. Texas lawmakers have locked every exit. And it's safe to bet that other states will do the same.

The point is not to put purportedly sensible limits on the reproductive freedom of women. John Seago, the legislative director of Texas Right to Life, said his goal is "to live in an abortion-free state." He doesn't want fewer abortions; he wants no abortions. He wants his state — not to mention all of America — to be a place where any pregnant woman or girl has only one option: enduring a nine-month physical ordeal before giving birth.

But the "pro-life" movement's efforts to punish those involved in abortion contains a curious omission. Anyone working for a clinic that performs a prohibited abortion may be sued. Anyone helping someone obtain an abortion may be sued.

Who may not be sued? The woman herself. Seago cheerfully admits that he would like to see abortion doctors sent to prison. But "women need to be treated differently than abortionists," he told The Atlantic. "Even with civil liability, we say that women cannot be the defendants. That's not the goal." It's a stunning display of hypocrisy that makes nonsense of the claim that abortion is murder.

For half a century, most American women and girls have been able to take for granted that they would have the option of ending a pregnancy if they felt the need. But millions now face the reality of being forced into childbearing. In Texas, reproductive freedom is a contradiction in terms.

Follow Steve Chapman on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

Senate Judiciary Panel Will Probe Supreme Court ‘Shadow Docket’ Abuse

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is blasting the conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court in the wake of their 5-4 decision to allow Texas' unconstitutional abortion ban to become law after women's rights groups urged the Court to pause and examine the legislation.

Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) is announcing he will hold a hearing to examine how the Court handled the case, while accusing its right wing jurists of "abuse of the shadow docket," CBS News reports.

The New York Times calls the shadow docket a "process intended to help the court deal with emergency petitions and routine matters," but notes it "has grown into a backdoor way of making major policy decisions."

"The Supreme Court," Chairman Durbin said in a statement, "must operate with the highest regard for judicial integrity in order to earn the public's trust."

"This anti-choice law is a devastating blow to Americans' constitutional rights—and the court allowed it to see the light of day without public deliberation or transparency. At a time when public confidence in government institutions has greatly eroded, we must examine not just the constitutional impact of allowing the Texas law to take effect, but also the conservative court's abuse of the shadow docket."

Psaki Bomb Levels Reporter Trolling Biden Over Abortion

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki once again was forced to school a right-wing reporter, this time not Fox News'Peter Doocy, but Owen Jensen, who is the Washington, D.C. correspondent for EWTN, Eternal Word Television Network.

"Why does the President support abortion when his own Catholic Faith teaches abortion is morally wrong? Jensen asked.

"He believes that it's a woman's right, it's a woman's body, and it's her choice," Psaki replied to the question that President Joe Biden has made extremely clear countless times.

Not dissuaded, Jensen pressed on.

"Who does he believe should look out for the unborn child?"

Not willing to debate whether or not a fetus is an unborn child, Psaki moved on.

"He believes that it's up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor. I know you've never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices this is an incredibly difficult thing, President believes that right should be respected," she replied, quickly moving on telling another reporter, "go ahead."

Jensen refused to drop the question, pressing forward.

"I think we have to move on – you've had plenty of time today," she concluded.

In early February Jensen made news when he asked Psaki since "President Biden has stated he wants to unite the country," is he "going to make any effort to reach out to pro-life Americans in his administration?"

Major Companies Lash Out At New Texas Laws, Including Abortion Ban

By Tina Bellon and Jessica DiNapoli

AUSTIN, Texas/NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. companies including Lyft Inc, American Airlines Group Inc and Silicon Laboratories Inc voiced their displeasure on Friday at new Texas laws on abortion, handguns, and voting limitations, a fresh sign of increased efforts by some firms to signal their commitment to social responsibility.

Lyft and Uber Technologies Inc said they will cover all legal fees for the ride-hail companies' drivers sued under a law that puts in place a near-total ban on abortion.

Lyft will also donate $1 million to women's health provider Planned Parenthood, chief executive Logan Green said on Twitter.

"This is an attack on women's access to healthcare and on their right to choose," Green said of the new Texas law.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted in response to Green's announcement that his company would cover drivers' legal fees in the same way, thanking Green for taking the initiative.

The ban, which took effect Wednesday, leaves enforcement up to individual citizens, enabling them to sue anyone who provides or "aids or abets" an abortion after six weeks. This potentially includes drivers who unknowingly take women to clinics for abortion procedures.

On Wednesday, Tinder-owner Match Group's CEO and rival dating platform Bumble Inc said they were setting up funds to help Texas-based employees seeking abortion care outside the state.

Website hosting service GoDaddy Inc on Friday, meanwhile, shut down a Texas anti-abortion website that allowed people to report suspected abortions.

The reaction to the law change in Texas comes at a time when many companies are seeking to burnish their corporate and environmental governance credentials with consumers.

Companies also reacted to the Texas legislature this week passing the final version of a bill that outlaws drive-through and 24-hour voting locations and gives poll watchers more power, widely seen as restricting voting access.

"We hoped for a different outcome for this legislation, and we're disappointed by this result," an American Airlines spokesperson said in an email.

A spokesperson for Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co, based in Texas, said, "As a global company of 60,000 team members, HPE encourages our team members to engage in the political process where they live and work and make their voices heard through advocacy and at the voting booth."

Meanwhile, a law allowing people to carry concealed handguns without any permit went into effect in Texas on Wednesday.

"Looking at the abortion law, or the gun law, or the voting law, it's a form of vigilante justice, where you're empowering individuals to enforce the law," said Tyson Tuttle, the CEO of Austin-based Silicon Laboratories. "It's been a rough week in Texas and a harbinger of what's to come across the country."

(Reporting by Tina Bellon in Austin, Texas and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Rosalba O'Brien)

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 and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

While Bashing Biden, Beltway Media Ignored Assault On Abortion Rights

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Wednesday morning's Politico Playbook, the AM round-up of Beltway news, led offwith a "BREAKING NEWS" update: "The Supreme Court allowed a controversial Texas law banning abortion after six weeks to go into effect just months before it hears a more direct challenge to Roe v. Wade this fall."

"Controversial" is putting it mildly. The Texas law, passed in May, bans all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is well before most women even know they are pregnant. The Supreme Court on Tuesday night, without comment, refused to block the bill from becoming law, despite the fact it runs counter to Court precedents, which prohibit states from banning abortion prior to fetal viability, usually between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. If the Texas law remains, it would block the vast majority of abortion patients from obtaining services in the state.

In short, the law represents a legal and political earthquake, as Republicans march closer toward overturning Roe v. Wade. Yet loyal Politico readers were excused Wednesday morning if they were caught unaware, because in the weeks leading up to its midnight trigger, Politico didn't publish a single stand-alone article about the historic GOP attempt to deny women choice. That, according to a search of Politico's online archives. (The site then published three articles on the topic yesterday.)

Politico wasn't alone. Across the national media spectrum, outlets in the last 24 hours scrambled to play catch-up with the story, which could alter nearly fifty years of choice in America. The stunning lack of coverage plays into the hands of conservatives who likely don't want a loud debate about overturning Roe v. Wade, since a clear majority of Americans support the right to choose.

"I literally watch the news for a living, and I had little to no knowledge of this abortion ban in Texas until late last night," tweeted Media Matters' Lisa Power. "It's a huge indictment of cable news that something this important can occur with practically no cable news coverage until after it's too late."

During the week prior to the bill becoming law, "Texas" and "abortion" were not mentioned in any Fox News segments over that seven-day stretch, according to TVeyes.com. For all three news channels, "Texas" and "abortion" were referenced together less than 10 times. During that same stretch, "Afghanistan" was mentioned nearly 4,000 times.

It's impossible to miss the fact that the media's virtual Texas abortion blackout occurred while the press gorged itself on Afghanistan "optics" coverage for weeks. For most of August, the Beltway press presented nonstop, 24/7 "crisis" coverage, condemning President Joe Biden for a "disaster" and "debacle" — as he oversaw the successful evacuation of 120,000 people from the Kabul airport.

The U.S. troop withdrawal was obviously a big story and required lots of attention. And within that coverage, the Taliban's inhumane treatment of women represented a pressing news story, and the media were right to focus on the fears that surround Afghanistan's future. But the GOP's appalling treatment of women in the United States also represents an urgent news story that deserves constant attention. Instead, it's being ignored.

And it's not just cable news viewers largely left in the dark.

Prior to the bill being enacted, both the Washington Post and New York Times ran a couple of perfunctory news updates about the unfolding legal challenges. Readers had to visit the papers' opinion sections though, for in-depth analysis of what the Texas bill meant and how radical and dangerous it was. Meanwhile, CNN.com during the month of August published just one news article about the history-making bill.

Most of the thin national coverage glossed over stunning aspects of the Texas law. Aside from effectively banning choice, the law's enforcement is head spinning and dangerous. From the Texas Tribune, which has been excellent on the story [emphasis added]: "The state wouldn't enforce the law. SB 8 instead provides enforcement only by private citizens who would sue abortion providers and anyone involved in aiding or abetting an abortion after a "heartbeat" is detected."

Texas Republicans have basically created a taxpayer-funded system for snitching on abortions and anyone associated, where an Uber driver who takes a woman to a health clinic to get a procedure could be targeted under the law.

The media's lack of coverage is especially galling considering the one area of the abortion story over the years that the press normally focuses on are the various legal and legislative tracks, as Republicans ceaselessly try to overturn Roe v. Wade. In fact, the topic is usually treated as a political football, and not a pressing healthcare issue.

Media analysis from 2019 sponsored by the pro-choice group NARAL found "that more than 77 percent of articles about abortion were written by political, legal, breaking news or general assignment writers—rather than health reporters," Ms. magazine reported. "Just 13.5 percent of articles analyzed quoted a physician, and only 8 percent referenced the lived experience of someone who has had an abortion."

A separate media study from 2019 confirmed that, "The personal experiences of people who get abortions are present in only 4% of the sample, and language personifying the fetus appears more often than women's abortion stories. State abortion restrictions are newsworthy, yet basic facts on the commonality and safety of abortion are virtually absent."

In their radical attempts to outlaw choice, Republicans don't want a lot of attention lavished on their actions. This week they got their wish.