If the Conservatives really care, as they claim, about authoritarianism, then now is the time for them to act, because Texas has just implemented one of the most totalitarian anti-abortion laws in the world. If there was ever a moment to see if principle would trump ideology, this is it.
The right wing has been in tears over what it says is the massive threat of liberal totalitarianism, from the classroom to the boardroom to the federal government. The Biden administration’s plan for health workers to go door to door telling people about the COVID vaccine? Scandalous. “People have a choice, they don’t need your brown medical shirts to show up at their doorstep to order vaccinations,” said Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Hide mandates in schools? This is an “attempt to restrict the rights and freedoms of Texans,” a spokesman for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. said in a press release. Teaching the History of Racism in Public Schools? “Indoctrination“that we must stop.
Fox News presenters are concerned about “cancel culture” and Claim that “revival is the greatest threat this country faces.” Republicans in Congress flounder because the Jan.6 insurgency inquiry committee called on telecommunications companies to keep a handful of phone records Since that day. Even some moderates and liberals report the rise of outrage crowds online and the costs they take from it as signs of a new puritanism, devoid of due process and fueling fear and self-censorship.
I am more sympathetic than many who share my policy with concerns about the lack of due process in employer responses to outrage on the Internet, and our growing penchant for retaliation and ostracism without any forgiveness or mechanism. reinstatement. These are real causes for concern (“critical race theory” and mask mandates? Not so much). But if you’re someone who cares about mob justice and self-defense without due process protection, Twitter dust is a self-defense t-shirt. Texas has just brought us into the big leagues.
Texas law basically offers a bounty for reporting anyone who helps a woman seeking an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy: $ 10,000 and all of your legal fees covered if you sue and win. Whatever you think of the right to abortion, replacing anyone in the United States as their own little secret police is an incredibly dangerous approach, less “pro-life” than the “American Stasi”.
It goes well, far beyond any personal freedom violation that Republicans have complained about. While Marjorie Taylor Greene worries about “brown shirts” going door-to-door with vaccine news, her party is behind a law that takes people to court, publicly humiliates them, and potentially puts them on trial. bankruptcy for doing as little as driving a woman to a health clinic. Greg Abbott’s office trumpets “the right of Texans to choose for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses or be vaccinated” and reject any “attempt to restrict Texans’ rights and freedoms” – one can therefore only conclude that in Texas women do not count fully as persons or citizens duly entitled to a full range of rights and freedoms.
We know that women who seek and are refused an abortion face a whole host of negative consequences. Compared to women who requested and obtained an abortion, women who are turned away are more likely to be stuck in abusive relationships. They are more likely to depend on the social protection system. They have more mental health issues. They have fewer aspirations and are more likely to have lowered their hopes and dreams. The children they had before requesting and being refused an abortion end up with lower development scores and are more likely to live in poverty than existing children of women who have requested and received abortions. Children born after women have requested and refused an abortion are also more likely to live in poverty and are more likely to struggle to bond with their mothers. Women who are denied abortion are more likely to have serious health consequences and die in childbirth.
While the conservatives complain about authoritarianism in theory, they are also the ones who put authoritarianism on the books: allowing any random person to sue an abortion that has not been harmed and is not. their business; prevent educators from speaking freely and fully teaching American history; and restrict the fundamental right of Americans to vote in free and fair elections. Yes, Texas just did: as state abortion premium law came into effect, Texas legislature passed one of the most restrictive voter suppression laws in the country. In part, it is not that different from the abortion law in that it allows partisan vigilantes to serve as poll observers. He also creates new penal sanctions for making a mistake at the ballot box.
This is the strategy of a party which increasingly cannot win fairly: to rig the game. Make it more difficult to vote so that an ideological minority can maintain its grip on political power. Affirm that political opposition is true authoritarianism, while using the courts and legislatures to enact authoritarian laws that serve your purposes. Keep women and those who love and support them out of fear, ostracism and under the very real threat of having their lives ruined – and by refusing abortion, keep them poorer, more attached to abusers and less able to pursue their dreams and aspirations.
It’s all part of a larger undemocratic game of controlling minorities and how that minority wants to force a return to old power structures. This Texas law makes the whole strategy clearer than most.