Pres. Biden: “The only way we can secure a woman’s right to choose…is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law. No executive action from the president can do that.”
“This fall, Roe is on the ballot.”
Originally tweeted by ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) on June 24, 2022.
In a short period of time, this corrupt Supreme Court majority has overturned a 50-year precident on a woman’s basic right to bodily sovereignty, ignored historical precedent on states’ right to control guns, attacked voting rights, allowed police to force confessions without Miranda warnings (Kagan speaks here), freed border police and other federal agents to commit violence without consequences, and forced states to fund religious schools, (read “Christian”), tearing a big ol’ hole in the separation of church and state, a foundational precedent. Today, Justice Thomas just publicly stated that he and his dark-money funded gang of six black-robed political operatives are now coming for contraception and gay rights.
- Action #1: Expand and rebalance this lawless Court with H.R. 2584/S.1141 – Judiciary Act of 2021. It no longer represents the American public.
- Action #2: Supreme Court justices should not be above the law. “YES” on the Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act and the Supreme Court Ethics Act.
- Action #3: Call your legislators to put private information off-limits!
- Action #4 Chat with Joe.
- Action #5: Help fund non-profit organizations that help women access healthcare, in Texas and beyond.
Action #1: Expand and rebalance this lawless Court with H.R. 2584/S.1141 – Judiciary Act of 2021. It no longer represents the American public.
(More information – original post: tinyurl.com/Rebalance-the-Court)
(More information on expanding SCOTUS in Senator Ed Markey’s press release in the RESOURCES section below)
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code]and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to immediately cosponsor and support [Rep.- H.R. 2584/Sen.- S.1141] – the “Judiciary Act of 2021“. (Can be combined with Action #2)
Additional script if you want it: I want [him/her/them] to know that I’m furious with the Supreme Court’s refusal to defend not just 50 years of precedence regarding women’s right to reproductive choice for their own health and for their families, but also state gun laws, separation of church and state, and protection against law enforcement overreach.
Additional script – for call of email: This phalanx of unelected, unrepresentative, right-wing dark-money-funded justices has embarked on a political mission and no longer represents the interests of the majority of Americans, historical precedent, or Thomas Jefferson’s dictum that laws and institutions must become more enlightened with time. Overthrowing Roe v. Wade is the last straw. We need to expand the court NOW to represent all 13 circuits and the needs of the American people.
Action #2: Supreme Court justices should not be above the law. “YES” on the Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act and the Supreme Court Ethics Act.
Meanwhile, we’ve found out that Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife has been knee-deep in seditious-adjacent activities, and he turned out to be the only vote to hide Trump’s records. Justice Amy Coney Barrett refused to recuse herself from a case involving a dark money group that supported her, despite demands from top Democrats to do so because of her apparent conflict of interest. She hasn’t recused herself from anti-Roe cases, despite her claims that a judge with deeply-held moral conflicts do so. Although lower courts have ethical rules, the highest court is literally above the law, as this list of conflicts of interest proves.
Minimal script for representatives: I’m calling from [zip code]and I want Rep. [___] to support H.R.7706 – Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act and H.R.4766 – Supreme Court Ethics Act.
Minimal script for senators: I’m calling from [zip code]and I wantSenator [___] to support S.4177 – Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act and S.2512 – Supreme Court Ethics Act.
Additional script for either if you want it: It has become clear that the Supreme Court has devolved into a corrupt and lawless institution, a political tool of those who would overthrow democracy. It’s long past time that they must have clear ethical guidelines and laws to hold them to account, like every other American.
- H.R.7706/S.4177 – Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act , (H.R.7706 – cosponsors here (neither Brownley or Carbajal)/ S.4177 – cosponsors here (includes Padilla, not Feinstein)
- H.R.4766/S.2512 – Supreme Court Ethics Act – specifically establishes a new statutory requirement for the Judicial Conference of the United States to issue a judicial code of conduct for judges and justices of U.S. courts, including Justices of the Supreme Court. (H.R.4766 – cosponsors here (Brownley, not Carbajal)/ S.2512 – cosponsors here (includes Feinstein, not Padilla)
Action #3: Call your legislators to put private information off-limits!
(More information – original post: tinyurl.com/private-info)(New reading)
Sample email script to your representative: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep. [___] to cosponsor and pass H.R.6416 – Banning Surveillance Advertising Act of 2022, and the following privacy bills
- H.R.2738 – The Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act – to protect both our privacy and the integrity of our constitutional rights. Any bill passed should include restrictions on precision geo-fencing, not allowing companies to track people within a radius of 1850 feet, as in effect with the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”).
- H.R.8111 – My Body, My Data Act – To protect the privacy of personal reproductive or sexual health information, and for other purposes.
Sample email script to both senators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Senator [___] to pass S. 1975, the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect abortion access for all Americans. In addition, I want the Senator to cosponsor and pass the following privacy bills:
- S.3520 – Banning Surveillance Advertising Act of 2022,
- S.1265 – The Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act – to protect both our privacy and the integrity of our constitutional rights.
- S.4408 – Health and Location Data Protection Act – To prohibit data brokers from selling and transferring certain sensitive data.
- S.4434 – My Body, My Data Act – To protect the privacy of personal reproductive or sexual health information, and for other purposes.
Contact Information for all bills above:
- Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): email, DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
- or Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24): email. DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
- Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
- and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
- Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com
Action #4: Chat with Joe.
“President Biden on Friday vowed to protect access to abortion pills and contraception in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
In remarks from the White House, Biden lambasted the decision as a “tragic error” carried out by an “extremist,” conservative-controlled Supreme Court. “It’s a sad day for the country in my view, but it doesn’t mean the fight’s over,” he said, calling for Congress to codify the abortion protections that were guaranteed through Roe v. Wade through federal laws.
“My administration will also protect a woman’s access to medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA. Like contraception which is essential for preventative health care [and] mifepristone, which the FDA approved 20 years ago to safely end early pregnancies and is commonly used to treat miscarriages,” the president said.
“If any state or local official, high or low, tries to interfere with a woman exercising her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack,” said Biden.”
Sample script: Dear Joe,
The right-wing dark-money donors have finally gotten what they’ve spent millions on – a Supreme Court ready to finish off what they started by shadow docket – overruling almost 50 years of precedence by removing a woman’s constitution rights embodied in Roe v. Wade. Millions will be forced to give birth, defined by the U.N. as a war crime. Even before this reversal, over 700 of us die in childbirth every year, and 50-80% are injured in the process, some permanently. Now, many more wil suffer, especially the very young, the poor, those in abusive relationships and persons of color.
Joe, keeping pills legal is not enough. Declare a national health care emergency and offer the sovereign immunity of federal property as a safe haven for those seeking reproductive care. Extend qualified immunity, the same shield that protects violent cops, to protect healthcare providers from threats of private lawsuits. Remove the Assimilative Crimes Act for both providers and patients during this emergency period. Provide services either free of charge or coordinate donations to fit within the Hyde Amendment rules.
Fight this White Supremacist SCOTUS with whatever powers you have. Urge senators to carve out the filibuster, both for voting rights and the bodily sovereignty of women. Start picking out candidates to fill the court to 13 members, to match the number of federal circuit courts. Talk to those in charge of tribal lands and land belonging to foreign nations, to locate possible clinic locations with immunity from state governments.
In the next months, we will see the fruits of the GOP’s dystopic and misogynistic vision – adults and children as young as 10 killed, maimed, or traumatized over forced birth. We will see them impoverished, trapped into relationships with abusers or rapists, or imprisoned for abortions, miscarriages and stillbirths. Step up, Joe! We are running out of time.
Action #5: Help fund non-profit organizations that help people access healthcare
- First – Share the link to abortion pill access – tinyurl.com/get-pills
- Give to local abortion funds in your state who help abortion seekers pay for procedures, made by the Abortion Link Fairy @helmsinki.
- Give to practical support organizations, who help abortion seekers with travel, childcare, and other logistical needs.
- Indigenous Women Rising: Supports Indigenous and undocumented people’s access to safe abortions and reproductive health care. @indigenouswomenrising, https://www.iwrising.org/abortion-fund
- Magic City Acceptance Center: An Alabama-based organization that helps trans and nonbinary people access safe abortion services. @mcacbham, https://www.magiccityacceptancecenter.org/donate
- Mariposa Fund: Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mariposa helps undocumented people access reproductive health care and safe abortions, and reduce fear of criminalization. @mariposafund
- Jane’s Due Process: Provides access to safe abortion services for minors in Texas. @janesdueprocess
- Brigid Alliance: Focuses on providing travel & lodging money to folks that must travel for an abortion. @brigidalliance
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF): NAPAWF “works to build a movement for social, political and structural change for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls.” @napawf, https://www.napawf.org/donate
- SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective: SisterSong aims to “strengthen and amplify the collective voices of Indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights.” @sistersong_woc, https://sistersong.nationbuilder.com/donate
- National Abortion Access Fund for Survivors: Supports survivors of gender based violence in covering the costs to access safe abortions @freefromdotorg, https://www.gofundme.com/f/abortion-access-fund-for-survivors
- Fund Texas Choice: Fund Texas Choice (FTC) was founded in response to Texas HB2, which shuttered the doors of over half of Texas’s abortion providers. FTC has been providing practical support to Texans since 2013, including home stays, transportation, and other logistical needs.
- Clinic Access Support Network: Clinic Access Support Network (CASN) serves Houstonians who need practical support for their abortion care, such as rideshares, homestays, and other logistical needs.
- The Bridge Collective: Like CASN, The Bridge Collective is based in Austin and San Antonio and exists to provide abortion care patients with rideshares, homestays, and other logistical-related needs.
- The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity: The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity provides financial assistance to patients in Central and Southern Texas, and may work with clinics outside of Texas for those needing to travel.
- Texas Equal Access Fund: Texas Equal Access Fund (TEA Fund) provides financial assistance to patients in North Texas and may work with clinics outside of Texas for folks needing to travel.
- Buckle Bunnies Fund: Buckle Bunnies provides financial assistance to patients in San Antonio and may be able to support Texans who must travel out of state.
- West Fund: West Fund provides financial assistance to people in West Texas, and like the other funds mentioned above, may also work with clinics outside of the state for those needing to travel.
- Frontera Fund: Frontera Fund may be able to provide financial and practical assistance to Texans, including those who must travel outside of the state to access the care they need.
- National Abortion Federation: The National Abortion Federation provides referrals, information, and financial assistance to people seeking abortions nationwide.
- National Network of Abortion Funds: The National Network of Abortion Funds is a collective of abortion funds nationwide that may be able to assist Texans who are traveling out of state. Simply visit the website, navigate the funds through their integrated map, and contact groups in your area and the area you’re traveling to.
- Planned Parenthood: For Texans traveling out of state to a Planned Parenthood, ask to be screened for the “Justice” funding when calling to schedule an appointment.
- Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project WRRAP is a non-partisan, non-profit organization helping women gain access to safe, legal abortion services and emergency contraceptives. We work with pre-qualified, reputable reproductive health clinics across the U.S. on behalf of disadvantaged women in need.
- secure.actblue.com/donate/txfunds – Abortion is Healthcare. Splits a donation between 10 Texas funds.
- National Network of Abortion Funds: Redistribute Wealth. Fund Abortion. Build Power. Through the Collective Power Fund, we distribute grants to abortion funds, with a concentration on funds within the South and Midwest, where it’s often most difficult to access an abortion.
The Collective Power Fund is a means of redistributing wealth, power, and access to local abortion funds and the people who call them. It is a radical investment in community care.
RESOURCES – Here’s where we explain this mess to ourselves, starting from Texas’ SB8…
Stop contributing to the demonization of Muslims who have nothing to do with draconian laws in Texas or elsewhere.
Call out the traditional homegrown enemies to our democracy accurately.
Why was Texas’ SB8 unconstitutional before Roe was overturned?
The right-wing-controlled Supreme Court lurched deeper into historical infamy by ignoring 50 years of precedent while sidestepping appeals against SB8, Texas unconstitutional forced-birth law. With two historically important rulings regarding a woman’s right to reproductive choice, the current Supreme Court simply didn’t show up, leaving a chaotic and unconstitutional piece of legislation in place. Cowards indeed.
Roe v. Wade: Roe v. Wade (1973) had a viability standard of 24 weeks, the point that a fetus can survive outside the womb. In 1992, the Supreme Court held in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that women have the right to abortion before fetal viability, and that states cannot legally impose an “undue burden,” or create “substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion,” before that time. (According to UpToDate, an online medical resource for physicians, many infants will live if delivered after 26 weeks of pregnancy, but almost none do if delivered before 22 completed weeks.)
Casey v. Planned Parenthood: Though less famous than Roe v. Wade, this was actually a more important case. In Casey, a more recent Supreme Court affirmed Roe’s abortion right, while broadening the states authority to regulate it.
In 1992, after much anticipation, the Supreme Court released a lengthy, multipart decision ruling that Roe v. Wade was affirmed but that the bulk of the Pennsylvania law’s requiring 24-hr waiting period and forced receipt of abortion information was constitutional nonetheless. Reiterating some of the reasoning in Roe, the Court first declared that a woman’s decision to get an abortion implicates important “liberty interests” and “privacy interests” that the Constitution’s Due Process Clause protects against state interference. Together, these interests form a “substantive right to privacy” that is protected from state interference in “marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education.” This right also protects the abortion decision, the Court again argued, because it implicates equally intimate questions of a woman’s personal autonomy, personal sacrifices, emotional and mental health, and fundamental right to define her life.
With the constitutional right to an abortion reaffirmed, the Court next reiterated Roe’s ruling that, first, states could not ban abortions before the “viability” point (the point at which the fetus is able to sustain life outside the womb), and second, that in no case may states ban abortions that help preserve the life or health of the mother. The Court also rejected parts of Roe, holding that the state can legally pass laws protecting the life and health of the fetus or mother in far broader circumstances. For example, while in Roe the Court had held that the state could not regulate any aspect of abortions performed during the first trimester, the Court now held that states could pass such regulations affecting the first trimester, but only to safeguard a woman’s health, not to limit a woman’s access to abortions. In another change, the Court now held that, with the advance of life-preserving medicines, the point at which a fetus might become “viable” (the point at which states may constitutionally outlaw abortions) could be slightly before the third trimester. Finally, the Court proclaimed that any regulation that imposes a “substantial obstacle” preventing a woman from obtaining a legal abortion is an “undue burden” that violates the woman’s constitutional right to an abortion…
Back to 2021: SCOTUS has already taken a case that could gut abortion rights by June 2022. Mississippi’s 2018 law – Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization would push the abortion limit to 15 weeks or less, more than 7 weeks before any possible viability. No lower court has yet claimed that, under current precedent, a state may outlaw abortions at 15 weeks. Even Trump-appointed Judge James Ho had to admit that binding precedent “establishes viability as the governing constitutional standard.” There is no reason for the Supreme Court to hear Dobbs unless it wants to abolish this standard, which has been the law of the land for almost 50 years. The justices rejected alternatives that would prevent violating Roe and agreed to consider the central question in the case: “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
And then “Texas handed Kavanaugh and Barrett a gift.” First, Texas’ SB8 ignored Roe/Planned Parenthood’s viability requirements entirely, replacing it with an unconstitutional “heartbeat” standard of 6 weeks, when “a flicker of cardiac motion” can be detected in a transvaginal ultrasound in an embryo.” The law’s authors then created an Orwellian system of enforcement, where neighbors and lawyers could profit at the expense of women. This was a deliberate design to delay or prevent pre-enforcement challenges in federal courts. With no traditional government enforcement entities to sue, opponents will most likely have to wait until the law is used by a private citizen. Then the person sued could contest the constitutionality of the law, with the backing of abortion providers and abortion rights groups.
Then, the ultra-conservative Fifth Circuit court did the dirty work for SCOTUS by preventing a federal judge from blocking the ban and then cancelled an emergency hearing on its constitutionality, leading to the emergency petition to the Supreme Court. As a continuation of their shadow docket, the right-wing Supreme Court justices could eviscerate Roe months earlier without writing as much as a post-it note. All they had to do was nothing at all as the law took effect in Texas.
“The conservative majority has spent several years amassing the power to intervene in any legal dispute that catches its eye. It has transformed the shadow docket into a roving veto. On Tuesday night, faced with a clear-cut violation of a nearly 50-year precedent—the rare instance of a state flouting constitutional precedent and getting away with it in the lower courts—the conservative justices declined to exercise this power. At a bare minimum, the monumental conflict over reproductive autonomy deserved a full and fair hearing in open court. Instead, the Supreme Court has let an established constitutional right die in the shadows.“
Not all the Court was hiding however.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by her two liberal colleagues, called the majority’s order “stunning.”
“Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand. No federal appellate court has upheld such a comprehensive prohibition on abortions before viability under current law,” she wrote. “Taken together, the Act is a breathtaking act of defiance — of the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”
Under normal circumstances a dissenting justice “respectfully dissents.” Sotomayor simply wrote, “I dissent” — revealing her deep frustration.
“The Court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law, ” she said.
Justice Stephen Breyer also omitted the “respectfully” from his dissent.
Alone among the conservatives, Chief Justice Roberts calls out the Texas law for what it is — a transparent attempt not just to undermine Roe, but to make it hard for such a restriction to be blocked,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
Many states, including Texas, have passed “trigger bills,” which would almost immediately outlaw all abortions within their borders if Roe is overturned.
Senator Ed Markey’s press release on why we need to expand SCOTUS with the Judiciary Act of 2021 here.
- The number of justices is not a constitutional issue: “Nine justices may have made sense in the nineteenth century when there were only nine circuits, and many of our most important federal laws—covering everything from civil rights, to antitrust, the internet, financial regulation, health care, immigration, and white collar crime—simply did not exist, and did not require adjudication by the Supreme Court,” said Chairman Nadler. “But the logic behind having only nine justices is much weaker today, when there are 13 circuits. Thirteen justices for thirteen circuits is a sensible progression, and I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the Judiciary Act of 2021.”
- Barrett & Kavanaugh shouldn’t be on the Court: “In 2016, then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate refused to consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the high court, citing their opposition to consideration of Supreme Court nominations in an election year. Yet, a few years later in 2020, Senate Republicans broke their own rule in order to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett while Americans had already begun casting their votes in the presidential election. Republican appointees represent a 6-3 supermajority, and Republicans have appointed 15 of the last 19 justices to the bench.” Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed with the assistance of a corrupted FBI probe that didn’t interview his accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and “failed to act on the 4,500 tips it received about then-nominee Kavanaugh.”
- Its Shadow Docket is judicial abuse: We, the public, have assumed that the Court decided matters of national importance through extensive briefing, oral arguments and lengthy rulings that explain the law. Well, not since Trump stacked the Court with manipulators of the shadow dock rules, once reserved for emergencies. The enforcement of Trump’s cruel Remain in Mexico policy and the blocking of the CDC’s eviction moratorium “were issued in the dead of night…And despite the enormous legal and human impact that the decisions inflicted, they were the product of rushed, abbreviated proceedings. The court did not receive full briefs on these matters, heard no oral arguments and overrode the normal sequence of appellate proceedings to issue their orders.”
- Now this “shadow docket” has refused to block Texas’s blatantly unconstitutional SB8. Justice Kagan wrote “Today’s ruling illustrates just how far the Court’s ‘shadow-docket’ decisions may depart from the usual principles of appellate process. That ruling, as everyone must agree, is of great consequence. Yet the majority has acted without any guidance from the Court of Appeals — which is right now considering the same issues. It has reviewed only the most cursory party submissions, and then only hastily. And it barely bothers to explain its conclusion — that a challenge to an obviously unconstitutional abortion regulation backed by a wholly unprecedented enforcement scheme is unlikely to prevail. In all these ways, the majority’s decision is emblematic of too much of this Court’s shadow docket decision-making — which every day becomes more un-reasoned, inconsistent, and impossible to defend.“
- “If (the justices) can make significant decisions without giving any reasons, then there’s really no limit to what they can do,” said David Cole, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
How this law will affect women in Texas
Read the law here.
This is expected to affect 85% of women seeking abortion aid. 6 weeks is just shortly after most pregnant women miss their first period. For people with a regular menstrual cycle, that’s just two weeks after a missed period. Women with irregular periods probably won’t they are pregnant at this stage. After establishing this draconian timetable, SB8 then threatens to bankrupt all the people and institutions that can assist a woman to access the reproductive help she is entitled to under Roe v. Wade/Planned Parenthood v. Casey’s viability standards.
Supporters of this bill, such as John Seago of Texas Right to Life states that “These lawsuits are not against the women,” cold comfort to those facing pregnancies caused by rape, sexual abuse, incest, and fetal anomaly diagnoses, which are NOT EXEMPTED from this bill. There is also NO MINIMUM AGE, so pregnancies could affect young girls from 9 -16.
Women will be deprived of their bodily autonomy – i.e. the right to decide what’s best for themselves or their families (what anti-vaxx people call “FREEDOM”) unless they can drive hundreds of miles to reach an out-of-state facility, or to end their pregnancies without medical supervision.
(WaPo) “People of color will bear an outsized share of S.B. 8’s burdens, just as they already bear the brunt of Texas’s preexisting web of medically unnecessary abortion restrictions. Because of racialized income disparities, inequitable access to medical care and other facets of structural racism, people of color are more likely to need abortion care; are less likely to be able to afford out-of-state travel to obtain that care; and will suffer a greater threat of maternal mortality if forced to continue pregnancies against their wishes. People living in rural areas, young people (who already face delays under Texas’s parental consent law), and Texans with lower incomes will likewise face disproportionate harm.“
How this law will effect those who “aid and abet” women in Texas
Read the law here.
After establishing this draconian and unconstitutional timetable, SB8 offers random strangers $10k bounties – not only on abortion providers who treat women after 6 weeks of pregnancy, but anyone else who “aids or abets” the procedure, including clinic staff, rape crisis counselors, physicians, abortion fund workers or simply a friend or family member who drives a patient to the clinic. Even clergy who support a patient’s decision to terminate or Uber drivers can be sued.
Research by the Texas Police Evaluation Project at the University of Texas of Austin shows that of those seeking abortion care in the state, 43 percent had someone drive them to the appointment and 57 percent had a friend or family member help pay for the abortion.
Not only can these vigilantes sue a clinic that performs a disqualifying abortion, they can obtain a court order shutting it down, affecting health care for all clinic patients. And if we think this is just a Texas-problem, it is possible that these lawsuits can extend past the borders of Texas, as well.
The law is set up to minimize the risk of suing, while removing protections from those being sued.
- Location: From the defendants’ side, SB8 compounds the damage by allowing suits to be brought in any of Texas’s 254 counties at the plaintiff’s direction, barring the courts from transferring cases to more convenient locations or even where the offense was supposed to have occured.
- Fee recovery: If the vigilante prevails,they get their costs and attorney’s fees covered — but if abortion providers and assisters successfully defend themselves, they have to cover all of their litigation costs, an unequal outcome.
- Multiple suits: The law also allows abortion providers to be sued multiple times over a single abortion, while prohibiting them from defending on the ground that another court already found in their favor. Technically, one provider could be sued in every county by a coordinated pack of vigilantes. It is also possible that those who live outside Texas who help a woman obtain a safe abortion could be sued under this law and saddled with legal fees.
- Suits can spread outside Texas: And if we think this is just a Texas-problem, it is possible that these lawsuits can extend past the borders of Texas, as well.
- Profitability: The framers of this law may have been focusing on true forced-birther believers, but this will assuredly devolve into a feeding frenzy for those who see lawsuits as their only real path to riches.
Interestingly enough, the ONLY people not allowed to join this $10k bountyfeeding fest on providers, etc…, are people who’ve actually raped, sexually assaulted or committed incest on a person seeking a post-6-week appointment. However, they are apparently free to sue providers for other people fortunate enough not to know them.
“Sec. 171.207.(j) Notwithstanding any other law, a civil action under this section may not be brought by a person who impregnated the abortion patient through an act of rape, sexual assault, incest, or any other act prohibited by Sections 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code.”
Be careful what you wish for, GOP.
Beyond harming women and those who care for them, the Supreme Court’s negligence could have far-reaching, unintended consequences, including undermining any constitutional right.
(WaPo) “If permitted to take effect, S.B. 8 would supply a ready blueprint for any state or locality looking to target federal rights they dislike. Today it is Texas banning abortion; tomorrow, New York could ban gun sales, permit anyone to sue gun buyers or sellers, and offer a five-figure bounty to entice endless private lawsuits. Post certain conservative sentiments on Facebook? A state could authorize lawsuits by anyone who saw your post. Same-sex couples could be sued by neighbors for obtaining a marriage license. Unpopular political groups could be barred from gathering under threat of vigilante lawsuits. The possibilities are endless.“
Clarification of terms of ridiculous “heartbeat” bills.
6-week-old embryos have no actual heart.
Dr. Jen Gunter explains why the term “heartbeat” in these repressive bills is inaccurate and should not be used. Her discussion below is in reference to a “heartbeat” bill in Ohio.
It’s bad enough that these bills exist, but the press needs to do a better job of calling them what they are. If politicians want to play doctor they should be using medical terms. If they refuse to use the correct terminology the press should correct them. People who vote for the assholes who write these shit shows know them as “heartbeat bills” not because they follow them as they groan through committee, but because that is how they read or hear about them in the news. The politicians know exactly what they are doing as a “heartbeat” bills is a way of making a 4 mm thickening next to a yolk sac seem like it is almost ready to walk.
Fetal cardiac activity can be detected as early at six weeks from the last menstrual period. The ultrasound [to the right] shows an image at 6 weeks and 1 day.
The fetal pole is between the two markers and is a thickening at the end of the yolk sac (the yolk sac is the circular blob) and contains the earliest ultrasound evidence of cardiac activity. I know some have wondered why not use the term embryo, but as it’s the fetal pole that is being measured I think the term “fetal” is technically fine.
However, when most people think of a heartbeat they don’t think of a 4.3 mm thickening next to a blob they think of something like this…
The image [to the right] is a anti-choice version of an embryo, obviously not a faithful representation of size or appearance. If you want a real picture for comparison check out this link.
No one passing these laws gives a shit about the medicine or the science or the statistics. Really, they don’t. If they did these laws wouldn’t exist and there would be laws providing free long-acting reversible contraception because that’s actually what works. I really believe the assholes in Ohio who voted for the fetal pole cardiac activity bill truly believe that the more than 21,000 women in Ohio who get abortions each year are just doing so because the greedy doctors who run the abortion spa at the mall have frequent BOGOs on pleasure abortions and if these little women just had a firmer hand from the patriarchy they would see the error of their ways…
...While the press doesn’t write bills or pass laws they do pass on information or in this case subtle misinformation. Using “heartbeat” anywhere in a piece, but especially in the headline, even in quotations is not appropriate. It’s no different from allowing a neo Nazi to self identify as alt-right.
The earliest cardiac activity is seen in a fetal pole and using any other term means that you are lock step with a campaign of misinformation and it’s wrong.
The politicians who write these bills are dealing in misinformation and the press should refuse to play the game.“
Texas SB 8 terms.
SB8 text here.
Section 3, Subchapter H. “Detection of Fetal Heartbeat”
Sec. 171.201 “Definitions”
(1) “Fetal heartbeat” means cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac.
Section 171.202. Legislative findings
(1) fetal heartbeat has become a key medical predictor that an unborn child will reach live birth:
(2) cardiac activity begins at a biologically identifiable moment in time, normally when the fetal heart is formed in the gestational sac.
Sec. 171.203. DETERMINATION OF PRESENCE OF FETAL HEARTBEAT
REQUIRED; RECORD. (a) For the purposes of determining the presence of a fetal heartbeat under this section, “standard medical practice” includes employing the appropriate means of detecting the heartbeat based on the estimated gestational age of the unborn child and the condition of the woman and her pregnancy.
Sec. 171.208. CIVIL LIABILITY FOR VIOLATION OR AIDING OR ABETTING VIOLATION.
(3)(e) Notwithstanding any other law, the following are not a defense to an action brought under this section:
(1) – (7) (None refer to religious exemptions from this law…)
It’s not a “heartbeat“: As Dr. Gunter states, what is “heard” at 6 weeks is “fetal pole cardiac activity.” This flutter happens because the group of cells that will become the future “pacemaker” of the heart gain the capacity to fire electrical signals, says Dr. Saima Aftab, medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami.
Hearing it guarantees nothing: Although a lot of weight seems to be put on the detection of this flutter, “by no means does it translate to viability of the heart” or viability of the pregnancy, says Dr. Saima Aftab.
It’s not a “heart” until way later: British researchers analyzed scans of the hearts of healthy fetuses in the womb and found that the heart has four clearly defined chambers in the eighth week of pregnancy, but does not have fully organized muscle tissue until the 20th week, much closer to the Roe v. Wade definition of viability of 24 weeks.
Go old school. Refuse the ultrasound: The only reason a doctor can “hear” the “little flutter in the area that will become the future heart of the baby” is through modern technology like an ultrasound. The “beat” isn’t audible to doctors through a stethoscope placed on a woman’s belly this early on in her pregnancy – they would not hear a heartbeat, Aftab told Live Science.
“It’s been only in the last few decades that doctors have even been able to detect this flutter at six weeks, thanks to the use of more-sophisticated ultrasound technologies, Aftab said. Previously, the technology wasn’t advanced enough to detect the flutter that early on in pregnancy.
Try claiming a religious exemption: First, join a science-based religious group such as the Satanic Temple.