Now that the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority has effectively overturned Roe v. Wade by allowing an extreme anti-abortion law to go into effect in Texas, both sides are waiting for the legal battle to resume. The Supreme Court’s green light came after the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a federal district court from hearing a challenge to the law. Now, given the court’s bizarre, cynical, highly politicized move, things are in considerable uncertainty, but the most likely avenue for another challenge appears to be someone being able to go to court saying the law has injured them.
Texas Republicans empowered anyone and everyone to enforce the law by acting as bounty hunters, reporting an abortion past the six-week mark, and pursuing anyone who has “aided and abetted” the abortion for $10,000 and attorneys’ fees. The Supreme Court says that because of this structure, it can’t do anything right now. That probably means that the next challenge has to wait for someone to come forward saying they’ve been harmed, whether by being targeted and pursued for $10,000 plus attorneys’ fees or by being denied an abortion they should constitutionally have been able to get.
Anti-abortion groups are monitoring their tip lines, looking for a chance to go after someone. Their effort is complicated by the barrage of fake tips coming from TikTokers and other vandalists-for-good, but they’re not giving up.
Clinics providing abortions in Texas have said they will follow the law, though it will force them to turn away the vast majority of women who would previously have been able to obtain legal abortions. Many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant at the six-week mark, which actually comes about four weeks after conception, two weeks after a missed period if the woman in question has a regular cycle.
One doctor told The New York Times she had wanted to defy the law but concluded it was too risky not just for her but for her staff.
“If this was a criminal ban, we’d know what this is and what we can and cannot do,” Dr. Jessica Rubino of the Austin Women’s Health Center said. “But this ban has civil implications. It requires a lawyer to go to court. It requires lawyers’ fees. And then $10,000 if we don’t win. What happens if everybody is sued, not just me?”
But it’s inevitable that at some point, someone is going to try to take advantage of the law by going after a woman, her friend, a doctor, or someone else for that $10,000 plus attorneys’ fees plus sheer personal cruelty. And anti-abortion activists know what they’re doing here. The Washington Post reports that Pro-Life Waco board member Bob Lehman “predicted that fathers and other relatives will report abortions obtained by female relatives, unhappy that their daughters or sisters chose not to continue their pregnancies.”
Straight-up, this is an intentional mechanism for men to control the women in their lives using the power of the state. The law’s proponents know that. They’re counting on it.
It’s also overwhelmingly likely that an enraged bounty hunter will target at least one woman after she has a miscarriage. According to the Mayo Clinic, “About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage,” and that overwhelmingly happens in the first trimester of pregnancy, when 91% of abortions happen. Some abusive, controlling creep will decide to go vigilante because he mistakes a miscarriage for an abortion. It’ll provide a legally great test case for the law when that happens, but it shouldn’t have to come to that.
Right now, women in Texas are being forced to remain pregnant because they didn’t take a pregnancy test within a couple of days after a missed period and immediately call an abortion provider. (Hey, remember when Republicans wanted women to take a lot of time with the decision to seek an abortion? So much so that it required all kinds of waiting periods? And now you have two weeks from the time you learn you’re pregnant to make a decision and get an appointment and have the procedure.) And of course, like most Republican moves, this will fall much harder on low-income women. Women who have the financial means to take days off work and get a ticket to go out of state and stay in a hotel will be fine, like they always have been.
Democrats need to act. Outraged statements and promises to hold a hearing at some point are not good enough here.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.