Opinion: Texas Theocrats Put a $10,000 Bounty on Abortion Providers

Even though their numbers are declining, religious right theocrats are going to extremes to take control of women’s reproductive health and the motive is clearly to keep them subservient to religious Republicans. Now Texas Republicans are two months away from putting a bounty on abortion service providers and anyone who assists a woman exercising her human right to reproductive independence.

According to the the Guttmacher Institute, the 2021 “legislative season has set the record for the most abortion restriction in a single year” in America. The new Texas law is particularly nasty because any abortion one day after six weeks of gestation is a crime; and written into the legislation six weeks begins after the last day of the woman’s last menstrual cycle or when a doctor thinks they hear a fetus’ heartbeat.

At six weeks many women are unaware they are pregnant. And of further note, a six week fetus is roughly the size of a pea. That pea-sized blob is what anti-choice religious freaks consider a living being the very instant a spermatozoa fertilized an ovum and became a zygote.

No matter, religious Republicans are Hell-bent on controlling women because in 1968 an old Pope issued an edict declaring the moment of conception, often the moment of intercourse, is human life.

Like the preponderance of anti-women’s rights cretins, Texas Republicans subscribe to that bizarre concept as ardently as they reject the validity of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade. Texas Republicans believe Texas law still criminalizes abortion.

It is noteworthy to mention that all of these restrictive laws have no societal value whatsoever. They are religious in nature to serve the whims of religious control freaks and are all founded on a Roman Catholic religious construct. A construct, by the way, with no foundation in the evangelical’s so-called “Holy Bible.”

Still, the 1st Amendment is clear – forced adherence to any religious edict is verboten; but no sane human being expects either religious fanatics or Republicans to adhere to the Constitution.

That Constitution does not provide any authority for a religion to control women, but like the entire Constitution, the First Amendment’s religious clauses are irrelevant to evangelicals; except to use as a cudgel against noncompliance. So Texas Republicans devised a truly bizarre means of enforcing the Roman Catholic prohibition on abortion.

According  to the new Texas religious law, anyone in any state will soon be able “to sue an abortion clinic, a doctor, and anyone who dares help a woman” end her pregnancy in Texas. That absurd notion accompanies the law’s prohibition on Texas officials enforcing the new law.

Enforcing the new law is the purview of any anti-women’s rights vigilante in any state who learns a Texas woman chose to end her pregnancy after six weeks or when a doctor hears what he believes is a “heart beat.”

And worse, there is a financial incentive involved because anyone in America who sues a clinic, a doctor, nurse, or caregiver for aiding a woman seeking an abortion stands to be awarded at least $10,000.

Legal experts assert the theocratic law “is a hack of the [Texas] legal system” and that is understating the issue. According to 370 Texas lawyers who signed an open letter condemning the legislation: “the law is an unprecedented abuse of civil litigation that could have a destabilizing impact on the state’s legal infrastructure.”

The group of lawyers’ valid complaint was that the law illegally confers legal standing on any evangelical extremist in any state in the Union who takes it upon themselves to punish a healthcare provider even though they sustain no personal loss or injury.

As one law professor at New York University, Melissa Murray, noted:

 If the barista at Starbucks overhears you talking about your abortion, and it was performed after six weeks, that barista is authorized to sue the clinic where you obtained the abortion and to sue any other person who helped you, like the Uber driver who took you there.”

And if that barista prevails in civil court, which the legislation is designed to guarantee, the least they will be rewarded with is $10,000 plus court costs and legal fees all paid for by the person being sued.

The legislation was created specifically to keep away from the federal judiciary where these theocratic laws continue being struck down as unconstitutional. Because the law will be enforced by “deputized” anti-choice citizens, there is no way for women’s rights advocates to seek redress by challenging the law in a federal court.

This is yet another troubling sign that Republicans will move proverbial Heaven and solid Earth to subvert a woman’s prerogative to decide when she gives birth. And now that Republicans have packed the Supreme Court with anti-women’s rights religious creeps, they will continue unabated targeting women’s rights until they prevail; and that is a very bad portent for American women and the beginning of every American woman’s Handmaid’s Tale nightmare.

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