As if news in the world of abortion rights this week couldn't possibly get any worse ...

Would you look at this video of Texas GOP "Handmaid's Tale" Commander Governor Greg Abbott surrounded by alllll these cisgender men signing one of the most insane anti-abortion bills anybody has ever heard of into law yesterday?

He did it. Not that anybody really thought he wouldn't.

Abbott said:

ABBOTT: Our creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. In Texas, we worked to save those lives. That's exactly what the Texas legislature did this session. They worked together on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that I'm about to sign that ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.

Glory hallelujah go fuck yourself, asshole.


Really, though, just look at the scene. All those white men, and a couple of women. ("The Handmaid's Tale" has woman characters who are bad, too. Is that Aunt Lydia standing behind Abbott? Yes, and also sitting next to him!) Stare at that picture and tell us criminalizing abortion is about anything besides straight white cis men controlling the lives and bodies of literally everybody who's different from them.

As we said, SB 8, the bill Abbott signed is insane. It's a bullshit "heartbeat bill," which essentially by their non-medical interpretation amounts to a six-week abortion ban, before many people even know they're pregnant. (The thing they are detecting at six weeks is not actually a heartbeat.) And because many people don't even know they're pregnant before six weeks, this is tantamount to a total abortion ban. There is no exception for rape or incest, only for "medical emergencies."

Under the viability standards laid out in Roe and clarified in Casey, it is flatly unconstitutional. Indeed, that's why Republican garbage legislators pass laws like this, so that each one can be thrown out as unconstitutional until the day comes when a sufficiently Gilead-esque Supreme Court decides one of them is totally fine and uses it to gut or completely overturn Roe. They really like to give the Supreme Court as many opportunities as they can.

Therefore it's REALLY awful that this is happening just as the Supreme Court is announcing it will take up the case on Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. Because if all of a sudden, Donald Trump's minion judges decide abortion bans before viability are A-OK, it's open season to enact laws just like the one Abbott just signed. One thing to understand about the significance of SCOTUS taking that Mississippi case is that usually when SCOTUS takes a case, it's because lower courts are disagreeing, and they need to resolve some sort of question. Lower courts are not disagreeing on pre-viability bans! Amy Comet Ping-Pong and Boofjob Kavanaugh and the rest of the wingnuts on the court are the ones being disagreeable.

Of course, the new Texas law has another compleeeeetely batshit component to it, allowing any private citizen — an insane anti-abortion street preacher for instance — to sue anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion. That's the clever enforcement mechanism of this bill. No, really.

Any idiot in Texas — or elsewhere! — can sue anyone who:

(1) performs or induces an abortion in violation of this chapter;

(2) knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this chapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this chapter.

All those people can be sued by private citizens they don't even know under this bill. You know, like abortion doctors and people who work at abortion clinics and abortion rights activists and somebody's older sister who takes them to get an abortion so they don't have to tell their fundamentalist Christian mom and dad. Feel free to list other possibilities in the comments!

The Texas Tribune explains the reasoning here particularly well:

Instead of having the government enforce the law, the bill turns the reins over to private citizens — who are newly empowered to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps someone get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The person would not have to be connected to someone who had an abortion or to a provider to sue.

Proponents of the new law hope to get around the legal challenges that have tied up abortion restrictions in the courts. While abortion providers typically sue the state to stop a restrictive abortion law from taking effect, there's no state official enforcing Senate Bill 8 — so there's no one to sue, the bill's proponents say.

"It's a very unique law and it's a very clever law," said Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. "Planned Parenthood can't go to court and sue Attorney General [Ken] Paxton like they usually would because he has no role in enforcing the statute. They have to basically sit and wait to be sued."

Jesus Christ.

This is the bad place. This is the very bad place.

But sure, Senate Democratic moderates, tell us more about how adding seats to the Supreme Court would be political and divisive, as opposed to how nice and apolitical things are right now. Maybe Justice Breyer wants to tell us more about how he shouldn't retire right now to let President Biden name his successor, in order to keep the Supreme Court very BALLS AND STRIKES and JURISPRUDENCE and FURIOUS JERK-OFF EMOJI or whatever.

It's not like people's lives are hanging in the balance or anything.

[Texas Tribune / SB 8]

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Evan Hurst

Evan Hurst is the managing editor of Wonkette, which means he is the boss of you, unless you are Rebecca, who is boss of him. His dog Lula is judging you right now.

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