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Tag: texas abortion law

Why Even Right-Wing Justices See Danger In Texas Abortion Law

Reprinted with permission from Creators

Texas Solicitor General Judd Stone this week told the Supreme Court that people who object to his state's abortion ban would have a chance to challenge it — eventually. But as Justice Elena Kagan noted, the process that Stone had in mind could take "many years," during which time the law, S.B. 8, would continue to have a severe "chilling effect" on a right the Court has long said the Constitution guarantees.

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Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement Of Texas Abortion Law

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked a near-total ban on abortion in Texas - the toughest such law in the country - in a challenge brought by President Joe Biden's administration after the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed it to go into effect.

The action by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin prevents the state from enforcing the Republican-backed law, which prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, while litigation over its legality continues. The case is part of a fierce legal battle over abortion access in the United States, with numerous state pursuing restrictions.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham and Jonathan Oatis)

'Abort Abbott': Texas Rally Launches Wave Of Pro-Choice Protests

By Richard Webner and Julia Harte

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) -Women's rights advocates gathered at the Texas Capitol on Saturday to protest against the country's most restrictive abortion law, launching a series of 660 marches around the United States in support of reproductive freedom.

A crowd of more than 1,000 protesters assembled in sweltering heat in front of the building where lawmakers earlier this year passed a measure that bans abortions after about six weeks, which Governor Greg Abbott later signed.

"Abort Abbott" appeared on several of the demonstrators' signs and T-shirts, while others sported the Texas state slogan, "Come and Take It" next to a drawing of a uterus.

"Our vision for Texas is still rugged and resilient," Ann Howard, a commissioner of Travis County, which includes Austin, told the crowd. "But it's also open and inclusive and compassionate. Our Texas safeguards individual freedoms."

In Washington, D.C., protesters were set to march to the U.S. Supreme Court two days before the court reconvenes for a session in which the justices will consider a Mississippi case that could enable them to overturn abortion rights established in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case.

In a 5-4 decision on September 1, the justices denied a request from abortion and women's health providers to block enforcement of the near-total ban in Texas.

"This is kind of a break-glass moment for folks all across the country," Rachel O'Leary Carmona, executive director of Women's March, said before most of the demonstrations that the group organized got under way.

"Many of us grew up with the idea that abortion would be legal and accessible for all of us, and seeing that at very real risk has been a moment of awakening," she said.

Carmona said the number of marches scheduled for Saturday is second only to the group's first protest, which mobilized millions of people around the world to rally against former President Donald Trump the day after his inauguration in 2017.

The coast-to-coast marches were set to include not only Austin, but other cities in Texas, a flashpoint in the nation's battle over abortion rights.

The state's so-called "heartbeat" law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, bans abortion after cardiac activity is detected in the embryo, usually around six weeks. That is before most women know they are pregnant and earlier than 85% to 90% of all abortions are carried out, experts say.

Texas also lets ordinary citizens enforce the ban, rewarding them at least $10,000 if they successfully sue anyone who helped provide an illegal abortion.

In the month since the law was enacted, hundreds of women in Texas have driven to other states for abortions, while others have sought abortion-inducing pills by mail or visited "crisis pregnancy centers" that encourage women not to get abortions. Abortion clinics are struggling to survive as patient visits decline and some staff quit.

Abortion rights advocates and the U.S. Justice Department have challenged the law in state and federal courts, arguing that it violates Roe v. Wade.

A federal judge in Austin on Friday heard the Justice Department's request https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-administration-urge-halt-strict-texas-abortion-law-2021-10-01 to block the law temporarily while its constitutionality is challenged.

(Reporting by Richard Webner in Austin and Julia Harte in New York; Writing by Peter Szekely; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Daniel Wallis)

New Poll Shows Most Texans Oppose Third Term For Abbott

Most Texas voters do not want to see Republican Gov. Greg Abbott reelected in 2022, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

The survey, released Tuesday, found 51 percent of registered voters in the state do not believe Abbott deserves a third term. Just 42 percent said he deserves reelection. Back in June, the same pollster found 48 percent opposed to his reelection and 46 percent in favor.

For the first time since Quinnipiac began polling Texans in April 2018, more voters disapproved of Abbott than approved, by a margin of 47 percent -44 percent. Voters said, 48 percent -45 percent, that the governor is taking the state in the wrong direction.

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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.

Psaki Bomb Flattens Abbott’s ‘Eliminate Rape’ Idiocy

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday expertly dismantled and brilliantly mocked Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott's promise to "eliminate all rapists," a promise he made to defend his unconstitutional abortion ban on Tuesday.

"If Governor Abbott has a means of eliminating all rapists, or all rape, from the United States then there'll be bipartisan support for that," Psaki told a reporter asking for a response to Abbott's spurious claim. "But given there has never in the history of the country, in the world, been any leader who's ever been able to eliminate rape, eliminate rapists from our streets, it's even more imperative – it's one of the many reasons I should say, not the only reason, why women in Texas should have access to health care."

On Tuesday Abbott lied about his 6-week abortion ban, forcing women to take to social media to tell him how their bodies work.

Abbott claimed the abortion ban "provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion," which is false. "That said however, let's make something very clear: rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas, by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets."

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Republicans Push Texas-Style Abortion Bans Across Country

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Last week, the U. S. Supreme Court let stand a Texas law that is the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. With that green light, other states are lining up to pass similar laws, and at this time, there isn't much way to stop them.

Anti-choice legislators in four states — Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, and South Dakota — have already stated they will follow Texas's lead. They're planning on introducing bills that will mirror both the restrictive nature of Texas's law — a ban on abortion at six weeks — and the unique enforcement mechanism, which allows any citizen to sue someone who aids or abets an abortion. Several other states, including Nebraska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Ohio, will likely be considering similar laws.

In Florida, Ron DeSantis, the anti-abortion GOP governor, said his state would "look more significantly" at the Texas law and that he found it "interesting." In South Carolina, Larry Grooms, a GOP state senator, said the state would "move to pass legislation that would mirror what Texas did."

Jason Rapert, a GOP state senator in Arkansas who is mounting a lieutenant governor bid in that state for 2022, immediately posted a model bill from his organization, the National Organization of Christian Lawmakers. Rapert has stated he will file a Texas-style bill in his state immediately.

Rapert's Twitter feed makes clear that some legislators pushing bills that functionally outlaw abortion no longer feel tethered to whether those bills are good law under existing Supreme Court precedent. Instead, Rapert tweets about how the left has an "unrelenting demand for the innocent sacrifices of unborn children" and repeatedly refers to abortion as a "demonic force."

One day after the Texas law took effect, GOP Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota tweeted her office would "immediately review the new TX law and current South Dakota laws to make sure we have the strongest pro-life laws on the books in SD."

Noem's tweet is emblematic of the approach being taken by many abortion-hostile states. There's no discussion of what the voters might want. There's no belief that the existing restrictive laws might be enough — even in a state like South Dakota with only one clinic that offers abortions only twice per month. Rather, there's a rush toward imitating the Texas law simply because it is the most restrictive that has yet succeeded.

The states that have announced their intentions to replicate the law so swiftly may be taken by the notion that since the Texas law offloads enforcement from the state to private citizens, it insulates the state from lawsuits. States likeSouth Carolina and Arkansas just saw courts block their highly restrictive abortion laws. However, if they took those laws and "piggybacked" the Texas enforcement scheme onto them, a court might have to let the law stand, given that the Supreme Court did so in Texas.

There exists a chance that the Texas law will be overturned once it is completely litigated, as what happened at the Supreme Court was only that the court refused to block the law from taking effect. Indeed, some anti-abortion groups have stated they will continue to focus on the Mississippi 15-week pre-viability ban that the Supreme Court is set to hear this term. However, all that really means is that anti-abortion activists have more than one opportunity to utterly undo Roe v. Wade.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

The Lone Star State Wasn't Always So Mean, Petty, And Vindictive

Confession: I have always felt warmly toward Texas, and I can't square the big-hearted, boisterous, self-confident place I've known with the petty, mean-spirited, downright vindictive anti-abortion law the state's Republican legislature and governor have endorsed.

Welcome to Beijing on the Brazos. It's as if 29 million Texans had surrendered to fundamentalist authoritarianism, brandishing Bibles like copies of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, vowing punishment against sinners and informing on their relatives and neighbors.

As I say, this is not the Texas I know: a sprawling, geographically and ethnically complex state larger than France, and which sometimes feels like the nation—as Texans never quit reminding you—that it was from 1836 to 1845.

Parts of Texas resemble Louisiana, others Oklahoma; the Texas panhandle feels a lot like Nebraska, and basically everywhere south of San Antonio like Mexico. The territory around Lubbock somewhat resembles the moon. Unless you really put the hammer down, it's a two-day drive from Beaumont to El Paso or Amarillo.

Texas can be hard to get your mind around. However, having lived there two different times, taught at University of Texas-Austin, and traveled everywhere reporting for Texas Monthly magazine, I've always felt an intoxicating sense of possibility. If I hadn't basically married Arkansas, I'd probably live somewhere near Austin.

To give you some idea, I interviewed a priest in Orange who sponsored two dozen Vietnamese immigrants, covered the great Rockdale football mutiny (undefeated state champs who went on strike against their coach), and hit the road with the Corpus Christi Seagulls, a minor league baseball team. I interviewed migrant workers outside Amarillo, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist at UT-Austin, studied the heavens at the university's observatory in the Davis Mountains, and learned to handle a pistol from an ROTC instructor at Rice University. (Bottom line: don't.) I made pilgrimage to Alvin to interview the great Nolan Ryan.

You don't meet a lot of shy, retiring Texans. Willie Nelson is your classic example, also The Eagles' Don Henley. Buddy Holly, Beyoncé, Waylon Jennings and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Jerry Jeff Walker was raised in upstate New York, but his rendition of Gary P. Nunn's "London Homesick Blues," may be the purest example of slide guitar Texas nationalism extant.

Texas is filled with writers and journalists I admire, from Lawrence Wright and my pal Stephen Harrigan to the late Larry McMurtry. I once drove from Cody, Wyoming to Little Rock listening to Lonesome Dove and was tempted to carry on to Memphis just to finish the story.

Coming to the point, Texas was also home to two of the strongest American women of my own or anybody else's generation: Gov. Ann Richards and the inimitable Molly Ivins, the wittiest American journalist since H.L. Mencken.

Molly once observed of a Dallas congressman that "If his IQ slips any lower we'll have to water him twice a day." She described Bill Clinton as "weaker than bus station chili" -- unfair, in my view, but definitely memorable.

One can only imagine what either woman would have made of Texas' current Gov. Greg Abbott—a poser last seen vowing to protect the state from imaginary invasion during "Operation Jade Helm." Austin's own native hoaxer Alex Jones had persuaded thousands of dupes that networks of secret tunnels were being dug between vacant Walmart stores to help ISIS fighters infiltrate. Christian patriots would be imprisoned in FEMA re-education camps.

Sure enough, the invasion never came. Fresh from that mighty triumph, Abbott has now succeeded in passing an idiotic law empowering every testosterone-challenged goober in Texas to carry a gun anywhere: no lessons or permit necessary. That will cost dozens of lives, but it's the abortion law that's getting all the attention.

Look, there has been a strong undercurrent of authoritarianism in Texas culture since slavery times. But this takes it further: If a 13 year-old child gets impregnated by her uncle, Texas now demands that she bear a child. Otherwise, a vindictive relative or nosy neighbor can collect a $10,000 state bounty for filing a lawsuit against an abortion provider, putting them out of business.

It's like the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act on steroids. Already, a self-described "Christian" group has put up a website, ProLifeWhistleblower.com, inviting people to inform on anybody obtaining or facilitating abortions. The cheapest form of cheap grace imaginable.

Anyway, it's official: Every Texas woman's womb belongs to the state. What's more, thanks to the cunning and cowardice of the US Supreme Court, every state where fundamentalist Bible Beaters hold sway will soon rush to enact it—even if it ultimately means political disaster, which I think it does.

Because Americans just won't stand for turning embittered ex-husbands and vengeful mothers-in-law into bounty hunters. So spare me the theological and biological fundamentalism. Nobody thinks abortion is a good thing; but it's sometimes the least-bad option. Other people's intimate life decisions are nobody else's business, in Texas or anywhere else.