The conservatives on the Supreme Court just ended Roe v. Wade without lifting a finger. Literally. They refused to act to block a new law in Texas from going into effect, the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation. The Court needed to act by midnight and did not, so this morning millions of Texans woke up in a state in which it’s virtually impossible to legally access an abortion.
The law bans abortion after six weeks, a point when most women don’t even know they’re pregnant. The law makes no exceptions for rape or incest, and in a horribly devious twist, they’ve structured the law to make fighting it in court difficult. The Texas law actually bars state officials from enforcing it and turns that job over to citizen vigilantes. It allows private individuals to sue abortion providers or anyone who “aids and abets” a woman in getting an abortion—from doctors to nurses to the receptionist at a clinic, the cab driver, and anyone who helped to pay for it. The bounty for the vigilante—who can be absolutely anyone, with no connections at all to the woman in question—is $10,000 plus legal fees. Should the defendant win in a case, they’re not entitled to legal fees.
“This is a dark day for Texans,” Neesha Davé, deputy director of the Lilith Fund, said in a statement reported by the Houston Chronicle. “Our hearts break for the people who woke up this morning unable to access the essential, time-sensitive healthcare they need. The Texans who will be most harmed by this ban are low-income people of color—the majority of whom are parents caring for their children. We all deserve better.”
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Some Texas providers worked up until midnight to care for as many women as they could before the law took effect.
While they were providing care, Whole Woman’s Health tweeted, “The anti-abortion protestors are outside, shining lights on the parking light. We are under surveillance. This is what abortion care looks like. Human right warriors.”
While the Supreme Court was standing aside to allow the law to go into effect, abortion rights advocates have turned to state courts. On Tuesday, a state district court judge issued a temporary restraining order against the would-be vigilantes—forced birther zealots who pushed for the law and who vow that they won’t be stopped, even under the restraining order.
Meanwhile, another bill banning the use of medication abortions after seven weeks passed the Texas House Monday. Again, at seven weeks many women don’t even know they’re pregnant yet. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the drugs through the 10th week. Doctors who help women get the pills could be subject to two-year prison sentences.
The court is expected to rule soon on the emergency application of the providers’ lawyers to block the law. Given that the majority allowed the law to go into effect, throwing the rights and the health care of around 7 million Texas women into question, it is not at all certain that they’ll respect their own precedent on Roe and Casey and block the law.
It’s hard not to look at how this unfolded and not believe that this was the outcome intended by the the federal courts. The notoriously extremist 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a district judge in Austin from acting on the law. It delayed a hearing scheduled for Monday in a U.S. District Court. A coalition of advocacy groups, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union, had asked a federal judge to prevent court clerks from accepting the lawsuits brought by private individuals and to block any of the trial court judges from enforcing the new law. The actions by a three-judge panel on the 5th circuit made it inevitable that the Supreme Court would get the emergency order, and more to the point, that extremist Justice Samuel Alito would get it, since he’s the justice with jurisdiction over the region.
It is a very real possibility in America right now that the federal courts are conspiring against us, against the rights of women, of people of color, of voters, of poor people.
The court is expected to act, eventually, one way or another on the emergency order.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.