And Now, the Flip Side of the Texas Abortion Ban

UPDATE: Witness this mealy-mouthed nonsense from Maine Sen. Susan Collins:

 

In other words…SQUIRREL!

—–

Headline via “The Onion” (9/1/21)

As NBC News reports, President Biden is reacting strongly to a new abortion ban in Texas that took effect on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene with an opinion:

President Joe Biden said Thursday he is launching a “whole-of-government” response to try to safeguard access to abortions in Texas after the Supreme Court’s decision not to block the state’s near-total ban on the procedure.

In a statement, Biden said he was directing the Office of the White House Counsel and his Gender Policy Council to involve the Health and Human Services Department and the Justice Department to evaluate what “legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.”…

…The president called the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling overnight “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade” since the decision nearly 50 years ago.

“Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women,” Biden said. “This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. And it not only empowers complete strangers to inject themselves into the most private of decisions made by a woman — it actually incentivizes them to do so with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case.”

Again, via “The Onion” (9/1/21)

As we wrote yesterday, the draconian new anti-abortion law in Texas is a harsh lesson that elections have consequences. The reaction to the law from President Biden and other Democratic politicians — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to hold a floor vote on a bill that would ensure a woman’s right to an abortion in federal law — is also a reminder that bad policy positions can themselves have serious political reverberations. This could even be the case in deep-red Texas, since a majority of that state’s voters actually OPPOSE the new law.

Republican politicians (and media outlets) often insist that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and that voters shouldn’t select candidates in a given election based upon their personal beliefs about access to safe abortion and contraception care. In fact, Republican politicians often downplay the issue of abortion because they know that any such discussion can cost them votes. This has been true in Colorado in recent elections, as this Denver Post story from the 2010 U.S. Senate race demonstrates:

As a Republican primary candidate, Ken Buck took absolutist positions on abortion and “personhood” — declaring that if elected to the U.S. Senate he would sponsor a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and backing a proposed state law that would outlaw some common forms of birth control.

Now, faced with televised attacks from incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet over those strident views, Buck is painstakingly trying to modify positions that may not match the beliefs of the unaffiliated moderates who will ultimately decide the contest. [Pols emphasis]

Before the Republican caucuses, Buck answered a Christian family group’s questionnaire and said he supported Amendment 62, the “Personhood Amendment,” on the Colorado ballot.

Buck said Saturday through his campaign spokesman that he will now vote against the measure.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer would rather fight you in a duel than answer questions about abortion.

What was true in 2010 remains that way in 2021. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eli Bremer wants absolutely nothing to do with questions about the Texas law:

El Paso County Republican Eli Bremer, a former GOP official and Olympian, said in a text message to Colorado Politics that he wasn’t comfortable commenting [Pols emphasis] because it wasn’t clear whether the high court was simply waiting for another case that could establish a clearer precedent to reach its docket.

Bremer, like Buck 11 years earlier, is smart enough to understand that while his right-wing base might be fervently anti-abortion, the majority of people in Colorado absolutely ARE NOT. Colorado voters have consistently rejected anti-abortion measures of all shapes and sizes when given the opportunity (just search for “personhood fail” in the sidebar). The polling data below, conducted in November 2020, affirms this point: More than 70% of Colorado voters are clearly in the “pro-choice” category.

November 2020 polling from Global Strategy Group for Cobalt

 

Unlike others such as State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, Bremer may prefer to stay far away from commenting on this subject. Unfortunately for Bremer, that’s not how this whole “politics” thing works. Recent statewide Republican candidates in Colorado such as Cory Gardner (U.S. Senate, 2020) and Walker Stapleton (Governor, 2018) were unapologetically anti-abortion, and each lost their respective races by an average of 10 points. Neither Gardner nor Stapleton, however, had to contend with a ridiculous abortion ban that is the subject of widespread derision (note the two headlines from “The Onion“).

The Texas law may or may not survive a court challenge, but either way, it is now a must-answer question for politicians in 2022.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Early Worm says:

    I predict this is going to get real ugly, real fast for the Republicans in Texas. Any private citizen can now sue anyone that has assisted in or provided an abortion. The defenses will include that the pregnancy was less than 6 weeks old and/or that if the pregnancy could endanger the mother’s life or lead to “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." That means the defendants (who are not the patients) will need to present private medical records about when the women likely conceived and/or the nature of their medical condition(s) that necessitated the abortion. Most Americans, regardless of their beliefs about abortion, understand what a personal and difficult decision it is. The Republicans are turning this difficult, personal medical decision into a public circus, and by giving private citizens enforcement power, they have ceded control over the process. 

  2. MattC says:

    All good coverage – but which Republicans are fundraising off this?

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    There are other sides of this law that must be exploited. In no particular order….

    1) the law interferes with interstate commerce. A woman traveling with a friend from Amarillo to Colorado, for example, will spend money in Colorado. This law reduces commerce.

    2) the law interferes with a basic right to travel in the US.  There also seems to be a conflict with the 14th amendment, and maybe the 4th. Of course, the right to privacy contained within Roe is implied in the 3rd, 4th, and 14th amendments.

  4. RepealAndReplace says:

    “Of those I’ve voted to confirm, three voted with the majority and three voted with the minority. The one I voted against voted with the majority.”

    What a frigging dingbat! 

  5. JohnInDenver says:

    the law not only "actually incentivizes them to do so with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case."

    I've read several people today who said their reading of the law includes blocks respondents [those "assisting" with an abortion] to get their legal expenses paid.  And (obviously) respondents cannot get any award from the state.

    I've entertained myself by imagining the Colorado legislature and governor signed a law allowing civil claims as an enforcement mechanism for all those assisting Colorado individuals to evade gun control laws that outlawed magazines holding seven or more rounds. 

  6. Duke Cox says:

    This latest move by the Trump Taliban establishes vigilantiism as a law enforcement mechanism used for religious reasons.

    This blight on what was once the GOP is a cruel, hateful, religious jihad against the freedom they claim to desire. The freedom they really desire is the freedom to subjugate yours. They want to decide who gets what…and who doesn't. 

    VOTE BLUE…NO MATTER WHO!

    • kwtree says:

      The Texas anti-abortion law SB8 is such a multipurpose move. 
      It pacifies the extreme religious right. It might convince some Catholics who were wavering, to remain loyal Republicans. Biden’s strong “all-government response” will be used to disparage his religious faith. 
       

      It’s going to undermine Pope Francis-  whatever position he takes on this will alienate some of his supporters. Which was what Steve Bannon always intended. Bannon’s podcasts are crowing about the TX law, mostly as “the end to Pelosi”. 

      It gives a “victory” to the MAGAts, who didn’t see TFG returned to power in August, after all.
       

      It embraces the concept of vigilante “justice” as mainstream law.

      It divides men from women, and neighbor from neighbor.  It will chill the rights of people to assemble and to protest. If there are thousands of Texans marching  in the streets tomorrow protesting SB8, stating intent to defy it, can the vigilantes start picking off protesters for that $10,000 bounty? 
       

      It distracts from the COVID casualties, expecially among children.  “See? We really are pro-life…”

      It distracts from the ongoing undermining of democracy and the right to vote.

      Yes, eventually, the law will be overturned because of the weird vigilante bounty crap. But so much harm will have been done in the meantime. 
       

      And yes, we will have to fight, whether y’all like that term or not. We’ll fight with letters and phone calls, dollars and picket signs and our feet. With creativity and cunning. We’ll defend ourselves with bomb proof buildings and Kevlar vests, with bubble zones and filibusters. We’ll organize to place abortion in the context of Reproductive Justice, which maintains that women must be able to choose when or if to bear children.

      We should all start wearing a scarlet letter “A” … to show we’ve had an abortion, or helped someone get an abortion, or donated, or counseled, or lobbied a legislator about it. Let the TX vigilantes spend their time and money snooping to figure out why we are wearing an “A”. Let it become a movement.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        My favorite tactic suggestions thus far

        — sue oil and refinery companies that release any compound which causes miscarriage/abortion.  I'm betting there may be a few along the Chemical alley from Houston to the Gulf. At $10,000 PER ABORTION, plus court costs, even petrochemical corporations with sizeable profits may take notice.

        — pressure the NCAA to pull all championship process competition sites out of Texas.  Don't want to allow suits against anyone helping a female athlete get an abortion or against any male who may, intentionally or not, help a female and become liable for a civil suit. Currently, the Cotton Bowl is supposed to be the site of a 2021-22 football semi-final.

        — there ought to be a registry for those being recruited for jobs in Texas allowing them to share their withdrawal.  Anecdotally, there already are some researchers who've delayed acceptance or turned down offers until the law is settled,

  7. Gilpin Guy says:

    This is a moment of clarity for Democratic politicians.  Do they turn tail and run or seize the banner and mount the ramparts?  This is a defining moment.

    • Duke Cox says:

      The Supreme Court has made ending the filibuster absolutely essential.

      Hick, Manchin, Sinema, …what does it take?

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      It is a defining moment, and your point is important, . . .

      . . . but I am still almost as uncomfortable with “our” war/battle/fight metaphors as I am with “theirs.”

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        Good point.  I always cringed when Elizabeth Warren couched every situation in fight fight fight rhetoric.

        How about: Will they stand by idly while women are reduced in status or do they come forward with bold and equitable policies that will survive and even maybe reshape our legislative and judicial branches of government. 

        Degette will probably be spoiling for some good trouble.  She is going to be a stand up advocate.

  8. Genghis says:

    Check out all the "Was Susan Collins wrong???!!!" takes in the liberal (lol) mainstream media, as if that's a matter for discussion NOW. Did anyone at all actually believe the bullshit she shoveled in service of the trumpanzee agenda?

  9. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    News on the Texas abortion law. The Satanic Temple (they’re not really satan worshippers) has written the FDA asking for full approval of the two abortion medications. The Temple believes that each human body is sacrosanct. Look for articles on Yahoo; also Huff Post.

    More……Texas Right to Life set up a web site to report abortion activities and people who “aid and abet.” It’s now subject to world class spamming. Haven’t heard about any hot lines yet for reporting. Those will be good to turn in anti-abortion zealots as “closet abortion supporters.”

    Just in: GoDaddy has terminated Texas Right to Life’s domain for violating GoDaddy’s terms of service. Seems the Texas group isn’t supposed to collect information on third parties without their consent (don’t ask me how Facebook does it. It’s probably a given if one signs up for Facebook).

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