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.