The Runback: Labor Pains
There's been a lot of talk about the new abortion law in Texas. Just don't believe everything you hear.
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This week, we talk with Canada Expert Rob Towner about the upcoming September 20th Canadian Federal Election.
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The Monday Thought
There has been a lot of ink, both digital and otherwise, spilled about the controversial new abortion law in Texas. There has also, seemingly, been a lot of confusion over the law and its implementation.
I don’t often suggest Politico for a reasonable explainer, but in this case you should check this out if you remain confused.
Basically, here’s what the law does and doesn’t do:
The law does not criminalize abortion;
The law does ban abortions on unborn children after a detectable fetal heartbeat is found by a physician;
The law creates a private right of action for citizens to sue anyone who performs, aids or abets an abortion on an unborn child with a detectable fetal heartbeat.
That’s all the law does. The law effectively bans abortions after six weeks, but there is no criminal penalty for the mother, the doctor, or anybody else involved even if a post-six week abortion is performed. The only penalty, so much as it is, is a $10,000 civil penalty. Read the bill for yourself.
The law is very weird in that regard because it does not address the legal issues of Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey at all. It’s a work around. And the consequences of it are going to be a total disaster. Just not in the way that pro-abortion zealots are acting.
If you listened to pro-abortion zealots, you would think that Texas is now no different than Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, a surefire way to show how detached the Democrats are from reality. The pro-abortion wing of the Democratic Party is more in-line with the Taliban in one particular way; both support the brutal killing of innocent children, just in different ways.
The irony of the Democratic outrage over the Texas law, of course, is the fact that there are no criminal penalties involved. Just civil penalties. Of course, the civil penalties are designed to be a deterrent to continued performance of abortions on unborn children with a detectable heartbeat.
The problem here is that Texas Republicans are overreaching. There are a number of legal and political problems that Texas either did not consider or just completely ignored.
As Sarah Isgur wrote in her Politico explainer, Texas Republicans did not consider the slippery slope they launched the country down if this bill ultimately survives legal scrutiny:
But those anti-abortion advocates that are cheering the result this week should be wary as well. Texas legislators may have found a creative way to prevent courts from reaching this law before it went into effect, but the law will likely get struck down soon enough. In the meantime, they have provided a blueprint for any other state that wants to infringe on constitutional rights. New York can pass a law allowing its citizens to sue anyone in the state who sells someone a firearm. California could create a damages award for $50,000 for anyone who sees someone praying on public land.
Nobody thought about those long-term consequences, clearly, when imagining and ultimately passing this law.
The politico ramifications of course are less clear. The pro-abortion left is practically giddy that they’re going to talk about abortion as a campaign issue next year. But that talking point doesn’t work nearly as well as they think it will either. What Democrats fail to remember is something that David French pointed out in The Dispatch on Sunday.
French cited a Notre Dame study on contemporary views on abortion. He highlighted the following, which I will also highlight for you:
None of the Americans we interviewed talked about abortion as a desirable good. Views range in terms of abortion’s preferred availability, justification, or need, but Americans do not uphold abortion as a happy event, or something they want more of. From restrictive to ambivalent to permissive, we instead heard about the desire to prevent, reduce, and eliminate potentially difficult or unexpected circumstances that predicate abortion decisions ... Stories from those who have had abortions are likewise harrowing, even when the person telling it retains a commitment to abortion’s availability.
What does this ultimately mean? It means the abortion isn’t nearly the political slam dunk that Democrats think it is. Even as a campaign issue aimed at women.
French also shared this heartening image; the number of abortions performed yearly in the U.S. is below the level of abortions performed when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.
Amusingly, the Democrats are even fighting themselves over weather or not abortion is a women’s issue or not because there are activists claiming…..well…….
Abortion these days brings out the worst political instincts of both sides of the issue. Democrats want to compare anybody who is pro-life to fascists and fanatics. Republicans ignore legal realities in order to come up with complex laws that, many of which, will not survive legal scrutiny. And the irony of the fight over Texas is the fact that nothing is gonna get settled by this. There is no way that this law is going to survive legal scrutiny in my opinion. It will ultimately get overturned, as it probably should. But it will not be overturn Roe or Casey. In order to do that, one of two things is going to have to happen.
The first is for Roe, Casey, or both to be overturned in court. Casey will likely be overturned once the Supreme Court decides Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. Roe I’m entirely sure what the challenge to that will be, though Roe remains one of the most piss-poorly decided Supreme Court decisions of all time.
The second will be for Republicans in Congress to finally get serious about passing a Human Life Amendment. No such amendment has been introduced in this Congress. Only the Life at Conception Act has been introduced. But even those bills are only supported by 122 House Members and 17 Senators. Too many Republicans in Congress are missing in action on life issues and the fact that so few members of the Republican caucus are supporting these bills is alarming.
(Fun fact: Rep. Liz Cheney is a sponsor of the Life at Conception Act. Rep. Matt Gaetz isn’t.)
Ultimately, the abortion law is a distraction on the issue of protecting unborn children. Until SCOTUS overturns the existing precedent or until Congress gets serious about a constitutional amendment, both sides are making a mountain out of a molehill.