Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Anti-choicers are such prodigious and unabashed liars that when they don’t even bother pretending and just show their true natures it can startle even the jaded likes of me! Two developments this past week did just that. First was the conservative Fifth Circuit Court’s decision to uphold Texas’ draconian HB2, an anti-choice omnibus law passed in 2013 (amidst thunderous protest at the State Capitol and after then-Senator Wendy Davis’ now-famous filibuster) that imposed onerous and unnecessary “safety” requirements on abortion clinics in what was obviously an attempt to shut them down. The implementation of the law was delayed due to lawsuits, with a federal judge last summer calling the anti-choicers right out on their bullshit.
The most remarkable portion of Yeakel’s opinion, however, may be the fact that he does not simply analyze the effect of Texas’s law. He also accuses the state of outright dishonesty. Responding to the state’s argument that some Texans can seek abortions in New Mexico if they are unable to obtain one in Texas thanks to HB2, Yeakel notes that this argument completely undermines any suggestion that these laws are supposed to protect women’s health:
If the State’s true purpose in enacting the ambulatory-surgical-center requirement is to protect the health and safety of Texas women who seek abortions, it is disingenuous and incompatible with that goal to argue that Texas women can seek abortion care in a state with lesser regulations. If, however, the State’s underlying purpose in enacting the requirement was to reduce or eliminate abortion in parts or all of Texas, the State’s position is perfectly congruent with such a goal.
Yeakel, in other words, calls a sham a sham. He recognizes, in the words of the Supreme Court, that the purpose HB2 is to “place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.” And he comes just one step from outright accusing the state of lying when it claims that the law was actually enacted to protect women’s health.
Of course the Fifth Circuit, the lower court most sympathetic to anti-choicers, reversed Yeakel’s decision and allowed HB2 to go fully into effect. This will shut down the majority of providers and leave millions of Texas women with no safe, legal option for abortion care. The Fifth’s basis for its decision was basically that legislatures can pass whatever bogus laws restricting abortion they want, so long as a fig leaf of “safety” and “medical uncertainty” exists.
While Texas appears to be the premier laboratory of what a post-Roe America will be like, other states are definitely taking their own steps to bring that about. Not just with anti-choice legislation, which has been passing in state legislatures like wildfire since 2010, but in the increasing tendency of authority figures to use whatever laws are available (or that they imagine are) to make criminals of women for abortion, pregnancy outcomes, or behavior while pregnant. The latest example happened this week, with the news of the arrest of a Georgia woman for using an abortion drug.
A 23-year-old Georgia woman is facing a charge of “malice murder” — a crime that is punishable by the death penalty — after allegedly ending her pregnancy by taking abortion-inducing medication that she purchased online.
The case presents just the latest example of a U.S. woman who’s been arrested and criminally charged for taking abortion pills, even though advocates on both sides of the abortion debate typically say that desperate women should not face jail time for attempting to end a pregnancy.
According to WALB-TV, Kenlissa Jones asked a neighbor to drive her to the hospital this past weekend because she was experiencing stomach pain. In the car, Jones delivered a fetus that WALB-TV reports was approximately five and a half months old, which died in the hospital about 30 minutes later. She was arrested after a hospital social worker told officers she had purchased abortion-inducing pills online.
The malice murder charge was quickly dropped.
According to Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards, the murder charges against Jones were dropped on Wednesday. “I dismissed that malice murder warrant after thorough legal research by myself and my staff led to the conclusion that Georgia law presently does not permit prosecution of Ms. Jones for any alleged acts relating to the end of her pregnancy,” Edwards said. Jones still faces a misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous drug.
I won’t be surprised if the District Attorney’s lack of ability to charge women like Jones with a death penalty murder offense will be quickly rectified by the Georgia Legislature. Luckily for DA Edwards, he still gets a drug charge with which to mess up her life and ability to parent her two children. The swiftness and ferocity with which the law was brought down upon Kenlissia Jones is consistent with what has been done to other women, disproportionately poor and women of color, by people in positions of authority.
Anti-abortion activists have insisted for years that prosecuting women is a lie concocted by pro-choicers to slander their movement. Often, they’ll point to the period before Roe v Wade as evidence that women have nothing to fear from abortion bans.
The wisdom of not prosecuting women was based on extensive practical law enforcement experience in many states, over many years.
It will certainly be influential with prosecutors and state policy makers when Roe is overturned, and that should be the policy of legislators who are interested in the effective enforcement of abortion law.
Based on the 50-state record of enforcing abortion law for more than a century before Roe, Linton concluded that “if Roe is overruled, no woman would be prosecuted for self-abortion or consenting to an abortion, even in those few States where abortion prohibitions would be enforceable.”
Prolife legislators and pro-life leaders do not support the prosecution of women and will not push for such a policy when Roe is overturned. This is demonstrated by abortion regulations enacted in the past 20 years—like the federal partial birth abortion ban—in which women are expressly excluded from any possible prosecution. Instead, pro-life legislators are advocating laws that defend the unborn and protect women from the negative impact of abortion.
I don’t believe this is their intention for one second, but that does not matter. Nor does it matter if abortion restrictions are passed by lawmakers with no intention of them being used to prosecute women. The views that matter are those of the authority figures who put them into practice. We are already witness to the willingness of some ER doctors, social workers, police officers, prosecutors, judges, jurors, etc., to exert their white-hot and knee-jerk anger at girls and women they deem to be “bad” (or, possibly, to go after such girls and women because they fear for their jobs or of criminal prosecution if they don’t). Women are being prosecuted. It is no longer in the realm of the theoretical. It is real.
Legalized abortion for four decades has led the forced-birth mob to go into a craze of activity, including everything from bombing clinics and assassinating doctors down to using ultra-sound images and various dubious medical theories to convince the public that 20 week fetuses are viable and feel pain.
Basically, this is NOT the pre-Roe climate where abortion was illegal because it was dangerous and a way for women to escape the consequences of their immorality. In the post-Roe climate, it is still the latter (gotta punish the sluts!) but now there is the added charge of MURDER, available to any local prosecutor in a red state who wants to pursue it.
But hey, you know, I’m glad when any anti-choicers at least admit they want to throw women in jail. Because they love them both.