Texas, the land of 10 gallon egos, has joined the NKVD of Russia, the Stasi of East Germany, and every other police state on Earth. How? By giving each and every citizen a $10,000 lure to sue anyone even remotely associated with a Texas abortion.
Texas law SB 8 is also called “the heartbeat bill”. Here’s how it works: Once a fetus has a heartbeat (6 weeks usually – well before most women even know they’re pregnant), the woman can be sued if she tries to have an abortion. Anyone involved in an abortion, from the friend who encouraged her to do it, to the doctor who did it, to the person who drove her home, can be sued – by anyone. With a minimum payoff of $10,000 plus legal costs if they win.
SB 8 makes abortion illegal, but prohibits state officials from enforcing it. It simply turns everyone else in Texas or anywhere else, from Anti-Abortionists to profit-seekers to anyone with a grudge, into vigilantes. The only difference between them and Stalin’s Secret Police is secrecy. These snitches are all in the open.
Mark Lee Dixon, 36, a Southern Baptist minister from Waskom, Texas, came up with the original concept. He enlisted former top lawyer for the state of Texas, Johnathon F. Mitchell, who crafted the law. Then they got the town of Waskom to approve it. Never mind that the Waskom (576th largest town in Texas, population 2,192, 80% white) had no abortion clinics or Planned Parenthood offices, the idea was to impregnate Texan Anti-Abortionists with the concept of spying on…all women.
And it worked. The Texas Legislature – yes, the same group who destroyed the notion of “one person, one vote” last week – now makes even victims of rape or incest unable to have an abortion in the state.
And you thought ours was a country that separated Church and State. “Bless your idiotic hearts!”, sayeth Pastor Dixon and his Oh-So-Holy Anti-Abortionists.
The Supreme Court, with 6 Catholics out of the 9 Justices, just stonewalled an appeal to SB 8. I don’t think it’s an overreach to predict what their ruling would have been had they actually listened to arguments. Maybe they wanted to enjoy the Labor Day weekend instead of laboring to appear unbiased. Maybe they were all having bourbon shots at the Puppet Master, Mitch McConnell’s, house.
It’s not the law that is idiotic – actually, the law is diabolically clever – it’s Texans who are idiots. They elected officials who cut voter access, a major pillar of democracy. Then the same officials toppled a second major pillar of democracy: protection of the minority under majority rule. In a matter of weeks, these democratically elected officials suppressed black and brown – minority voters – and gave Anti-Abortionists dominance over women.
Move over Taliban. Here come the Texaliban.
It used to be, way back when, that the Supreme Court staunchly and publicly protected the pillars of our democracy. Last week, in considering appeals against SB 8, they issued a “No Comment” from behind closed doors. If you listened carefully you could hear a third pillar crumbling in the background.
Autocrats like Abbot and other Republican leaders are not just stifling those who disagree with them and stuffing their beliefs down our throats; they’re destroying democracy and replacing it with their own theocracy.
God help us.