So Texas legislators got clever and cute; they found a way to dodge the civil rights protections that allow pregnant folks control over their reproduction. They cobbled together a devious, shifty way to stop abortions–which, after all, is a safe, legal medical practice they disapprove of for their personal religious reasons.
See, the mechanism by which the courts protected civil rights involved is grounded in the 14th Amendment. That amendment is divided into two chunks. The first chunk defines who qualifies as a US citizen. We can skip that for now. It’s the second chunk we need to pay attention to. The second chunk says…well, hell, just read it:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
There it is. No State–like, say, Texas–can make or ENFORCE a law that deprives a citizen of their rights under the Constitution. That ‘enforcement’ business is where Texas got cute. The State of Texas doesn’t enforce any abortion ban. Instead, it relies on ordinary citizens to step up and sue the shit out of anybody who performs or aids or abets an abortion. If the Federal government says, “Yo, Texas, c’mon, you know abortions are legal, you can’t do just ban them,” Texas can say, “Hey, it’s not me, I’m not doing anything, I’m just standing here with my hands in my pockets.”
Cute and clever, right?
I had a thought. It’s just a thought; I haven’t done a lick of research about this. But if this shit stands…and given the Trumpist-dominated SCOTUS, it might…my thought is this: maybe we can turn the idea on its head.
Democratic-run states can pass similar laws. If anybody aids or abets a firearm sale that results in an injury or death, we can sue the shit out of everybody involved. The person who sold the gun, the people who hired the person who sold the gun, the individuals who assembled the gun, the company that manufactured the gun. They all aided and abetted the injury.
Now apply that to catching Covid, or attempting to vote, or polluting the air, or contributing to climate change, or or or. Hell, make it so private citizens can sue clothing manufacturers for failing to put workable pockets in women’s clothes–surely we can come up with an argument that requiring a woman to carry some sort of bag at all times is an infringement on their right to…something. Autonomy? Doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter, because the point–as with the Texas abortion law–isn’t necessarily to WIN the lawsuit. It’s to harass and intimidate; it’s to force the people we disagree with to cough up the coin (and the time) necessary to defend themselves in court.
Okay, I admit, that would be a shitty way to behave. It’s a shitty way to even think. But right now, I’m kinda okay with that.
We can be cute and clever too.
greg, your idea seems tempting, but…it would be sinking way too low. The persons who thought this one up are cruel and greedy and deserve no honor for their cunning and nasty trick. Women deserve the right to care and decide what is best for themselves and their families. The people of Texas are being used by enticing them to snitch on their neighbors.
Wouldn’t the State of Texas be paying the $10,000 bounty to successful plaintiffs? And would there be any successful plaintiffs? So…this is just a cruel joke that will be around and around the courts, making lawyers wealthier, and humiliating and perhaps endangering the lives of women, young girls and those who care for them.
The reality of what’s taking place in Texas is almost too awful to contemplate. Like a lot of folks, I’d stayed online most of that night, refreshing my Twitter feed every couple of minutes, waiting for SCOTUS to knock down that law before the deadline. I was actually shocked when they didn’t.
Right now, that’s the law. I think a lot of folks are under the impression that it’s something that can be changed if there’s enough public outcry–but that’s just not the case. The only thing people can do now is sabotage the mechanics of the law. Some are opting for flooding the snitch site with fake claims–which could be an effective tactic, except most of the folks doing that are filing wildly fake claims that are easily and quickly ignored. It would be more effective to file claims that appear legit and would require some effort to investigate.
The thing is, if you want to effectively sabotage the law, you have to use every avenue possible. I’m just suggesting another avenue. I’m generally opposed to sabotaging the mechanisms of the law, but the right of pregnant people to determine their own reproduction is pretty fundamental.
I knew where you were coming from, greg. I was just caught up in the anger of the moment, visualizing how cunning the plot to do this was. Your “just a thought” is a remarkable way to educate the public about what really happened and put it in context with the possibilities and mayhem that could be applied to the same thinking.
I remember what it was like back in the 60s when panic and humiliation and pain young women and girls had to face the consequences..early marriage, loss of school, shunning, fear of hell, secret moving out of the area, instant giving away your child to strangers..or the horror of finding someone to “take care of it.” I appreciate your time and research that you put into all of your posts.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
Sneaky, corrupted SCOTUS and white, controlling men!! … 14th amendment, second part!! – “No State – like, say, Texas – can make or ENFORCE a law that deprives a citizen of their rights under the Constitution. That ‘enforcement’ business is where Texas got cute. The State of Texas doesn’t enforce any abortion ban. Instead, it relies on ordinary citizens to step up and sue the shit out of anybody who performs or aids or abets an abortion. If the Federal government says, “Yo, Texas, c’mon, you know abortions are legal, you can’t do just ban them,” Texas can say, “Hey, it’s not me, I’m not doing anything, I’m just standing here with my hands in my pockets.”
LikeLiked by 1 person
As a bonus, if such lawsuits run into trouble on the grounds that it doesn’t work that way *should* make the Texas ploy unusuable.
Yes. If you want to throw sand in the gears, throw LOTS of sand in LOTS of gears. And keep throwing sand until the whole thing seizes up and shuts down.
Pingback: Recapping My Week At Crooks and Liars | Mock Paper Scissors