I assume y’all are aware of the terrible, terrible law in Texas that appears to be designed to maximize domestic assault. And I assume y’all are aware of the terrible, terrible Supreme Court decision that, under guise of process, allows Texas to deprive its citizens of a medical procedure that they have a constitutional right to claim, without overturning that right—and further allows Texas to encourage individuals to punish medical professionals (and non-medical professionals) for ‘abetting’ in that procedure, which, again, is a protected Constitutional right at this time.
Elie Mystal, of The Nation, has what seems to me like an excellent idea:
Biden should send hire doctors under federal authority and send them to Texas to protect constitutional medical services at least until the Supreme Court bothers to figure out what the law may or may not be regarding BOUNTIES.— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) September 2, 2021
The problem with this plan, other than requiring Biden to seek confrontation rather than avoid it, is that if the Supreme Court felt it had to actually decide on whether a State could compel all women to carry all pregnancies to term, would clearly decide that they could, and that women did not have the right to request or receive medical procedures to control or prevent that. Which, in some procedural sense, would be an improvement over its current lawlessness, but would not be an improvement in the lived lives of women in Texas or anywhere else in this country.
However, as Elie Mystal says later in the thread, at least that plan is a plan, and “feel bad about it” is not a plan. Donate to groups doing good works, while excellent and in fact necessary, is not a plan. And—as much as I venerate participatory self-government—waiting for the 2022 and 2024 elections is absolutely not a plan, and even pressuring legislators is not really a plan.
But I do want to take a moment and focus on the root of the problem, which is pretty much this: there is a sizable minority of people in this country who feel that women are not and cannot be full citizens, with full and equal participation in public lives and their own lives. There is another, even larger minority who find the idea of abortion so distasteful that they are willing to ally with that more openly misogynist group in order to deprive other women of the procedure—or at least to deprive the ‘wrong’ women, because many of those women imagine that the ‘right’ women would be exempted somehow. They may be correct, honestly; before Roe v Wade certainly, well-connected and affluent white women were usually able to get safe abortions if their husbands or fathers wanted them to. And in addition, there are lots of people who don’t care that much about women’s rights, at least to the point where they are willing to join a coalition with the first two groups to achieve other political goals. If these groups don’t make up a majority nationally, they make up a very large minority, and have local majorities in a lot of places. Any plan that doesn’t involve dealing with that fact—whether it is changing the minds of some decent-sized slice of those people or finding a way to protect women from the political power of those local majorities and large national minority—isn’t really a plan either.
But what would accomplish that? I have to think it would be some sort of wedge between the Conservatives and Radicals in the Other Party, but we’ve been expecting that fissure for years, and it hasn’t happened yet. Waiting for it seems even less like a plan than sending in Federal medical care.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,