I’m not surprised Texas passed this insane new law deputizing citizens to hunt down doctors (or even concerned loved ones) for bounties if they even try to help a woman get an abortion once they’re more than the ludicrously-brief six weeks pregnant. Nor am I surprised the Supreme Court has declined to intervene. Conservatives have been setting up to outlaw abortion for decades and they’re not apt to get in their own way.
But I am a little surprised that they’re staying so quiet about it — and, to the extent they acknowledge that it’s happening, trying to make it look like something else.
I’ve had inklings that this was coming for years, but I really started to worry when Trump as a candidate in 2016 declared that any change in abortion law had to include some “punishment” for the woman seeking the abortion, rather than just the workaround of punishing the doctor instead, which conservatives had been pushing.
More interesting than Trump saying it was that he backtracked on it — one of the few times he backtracked on anything, and the only time I can think of when he did so quickly, as if someone had taken him in a room somewhere and told him how things had to be. It was as if the big Republicans decided that the blunt, heedless cruelty that was Trump’s chief attraction was not, in this one case at least, as important as the pretense that they weren’t taking away any rights that women actually wanted, they were just preventing evil doctors, clinic volunteers et alia from confusing them into inadvertently killing their babies.
(That cowardly subterfuge reminds me of a scene in Durrenmatt’s The Visit, in which Alfred Ill is trying desperately to get out of town and the townspeople, who are planning to kill him, prevent his departure, not by telling him he can’t leave, but by contriving to get in his way as they inquire kindly about his health.)
Now, today’s conservatives are loud and proud about nearly all of their insane and vicious beliefs. They will happily tell you that it is impossible that your candidates could ever win elections fairly and if the results say they did that means it’s a fraud and they will prevent those candidates from taking office; they will, with very little prompting, tell you that our hyper-capitalist country is run by a Marxist pedophile cult and they are eager to kill those they believe to be its members, including you, and will even kill themselves with COVID rather than accept your statist vaccines and masks. Also, with their anti-“critical race theory” and “replacement theory” frenzies, those that aren’t overt white supremacists get closer to it every day.
But at their moment of triumph in a 50-year fight, their anti-abortion crusade marches by with flags dipped and furled, and horns and drums muffled. It’s like the one thing they’re nervous about getting around.
Look at National Review: At this writing the new law isn’t even one of their trending topics — their front page is almost completely given over to incessant screaming about Afghanistan. (When they want to publicize a position, they aren’t shy!)
Buried deep down at NR, there’s an Alexandra DeSanctis story on the Texas law that I read but did not preserve for quotes before I ran out of access privileges (LOL imagine paying for that shit); but I do recall it is as disingenuous as you’d expect and ends with a couple of paragraphs about how funny it is that liberals think trans women can have babies.
There are also a couple of items by crazy Jesus lady Kathryn Jean Lopez, one tsking that Dan Rather thinks people like her are like the Taliban (would a Talibani have a vintage scapular collection?), another listing a bunch of fraudulent “pregnancy centers” you can send your handmaid to.
There’s also some David Harsanyi thing about how most Americans don’t really want a right to abortion, notwithstanding the polls that say they do. The following is typical of his reasoning:
Gallup also finds that 67 percent of American believe abortion should be either completely banned (19 percent) or in place with limitations (48 percent). Obviously, the latter can mean an array of things…
LOL. Harsanyi goes on to argue that “the heartbeat bills, like the one in Texas, allow for abortion in ‘in some circumstances.’” Saying the Texas law is “abortion with limitations” is like saying a life sentence is freedom with limitations.
Harsanyi’s former colleague Timothy P. Carney also does the liars-figure bit at the Washington Examiner, claiming that “Outside of the media, support for Roe is thin,” and linking in support of that premise to a CBS poll that finds… 63% support for Roe.
At one point Carney does a classic conservative head fake, saying something that is formatted to be reasonable-sounding but is actually nuts: admitting that there is “obviously great disagreement in this country about the justice of aborting very small, in-utero babies.” (FYI, the six-week-old “very small in-utero” things Texas and Carney are defending from their female hosts are not babies, and they are about the size of a grain of rice.) “But,” he continues, “we shouldn’t let the media get away with pretending that Roe is a respectable precedent, or that most people agree with the abortion industry's position.”
Again, Carney’s own sources say that most people want at least some abortions to be legal (and they certainly don’t mean for them to be limited to the <5% of abortions the Texas law would allow) and approve of Roe. It isn’t even a good try — but why would it be? The goal is not to elucidate but to obfuscate. They’re trying to sneak it over because they know that most of us don’t approve of this and those of us with uteruses really don’t approve of it — and unlike the slaves of yesteryear, whom their spiritual forebears could beat down without any fear of consequence, women and their allies can actually make their feelings known in the press and at the ballot box. That’s also why the conservative SCOTUS majority is letting it pass as a procedural issue rather than making a bold anti-abortion statement.
It’s been freaky in recent years to see how unapologetically conservatives have come to endorse the treason, racism, and fascism they used to try and disguise. But in a way it’s even weirder to see them suddenly get cagey about it.