A Confederacy of Dunces

The crap that American women have been dealing with got even worse on Tuesday. Not content with ending abortion in Texas, Greg Abbott assured everyone that women in Texas who were raped didn’t have to worry about any resulting pregnancy because he was going to “end rape” in Texas.

I don’t know about you, but that wasn’t a particularly reassuring statement, given how little most men in power care about rape in this country. In fact, my first thought was that he was just going to decriminalize rape. My second thought was the same thing. Ugh.

Because Abbott is the gaffe that keeps on giving, today he also revealed his complete ignorance about a woman’s reproductive cycle. See, he confidently told everyone that 6 weeks was more than enough time for a woman who was pregnant to get an abortion. I mean, it’s a whole month and a half, right?

Well, here’s the thing:  the 6 week marker (or the 1 month marker, or the 3 month marker), is measured back from the first day of the woman’s last period. And since menstruation (if you’re not on hormonal birth control) is erratic for most women, lots of women wouldn’t even know at 6 weeks that they’d missed a period.

This reminds me of this story:

An Idaho lawmaker received a brief lesson on female anatomy after asking if a woman can swallow a small camera for doctors to conduct a remote gynecological exam.

The question on Monday from Republican state representative Vito Barbieri came as the House State Affairs Committee heard nearly three hours of testimony on a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine.

Dr Julie Madsen was testifying in opposition to the bill when Barbieri asked the question. Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

“Fascinating. That makes sense,” Barbieri said, amid the crowd’s laughter.

The more I read men’s comments about abortion, the more I realize that a lot of men have no idea of how a woman’s reproductive system works. It’s peak Dunning Kruger at work.

And there is some hope that there is a legal basis to undo the Texas law. I’ll let Laurence Tribe explain it:

In the Grendel’s Den case, the unbridled veto power interfered not with a service to which anyone had a constitutional right, like abortion, but just with serving liquor. It was simply being governed by someone unaccountable to nobody that offended the Constitution. In the Texas case, even a judge or justice convinced that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and that there is no constitutional right to end a pregnancy would need to confront the long line of precedent establishing that due process of law, enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not permit, to quote the court in Grendel’s Den “delegate[ing] to private, nongovernmental entities power to veto … a power ordinarily vested in agencies of government.”

As the court said, it is difficult in such situations to imagine “any ‘effective means of guaranteeing’ that the delegated power ‘will be used exclusively for secular, neutral, and nonideological purposes.’ ” As one of us wrote in 1973 in defending the court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, abortion is particularly fraught with deeply religious as opposed to secular concerns and commitments. Just because the religion clauses are not directly implicated by the Texas scheme, it doesn’t follow that the long line of decisions into which Grendel’s Den fits becomes irrelevant in the effort to legally defang the Texas abomination.

Let’s see what happens next.

 

2 thoughts on “A Confederacy of Dunces

  1. djmm says:

    According to Senator Cornyn’s office, there are 6108 untested rape kits in Texas as of last February.
    https://www.cornyn.senate.gov/content/news/cornyn-op-ed-texas-has-tools-end-rape-kit-backlog-let%E2%80%99s-use-them

    But I am sure Gov. Abbott will hop on that right way, right? Not holding my breath.

  2. quixote says:

    Excellent argument for destroying the whole idiotic travesty. There’s no way to square vigilante enforcement of anything and rule of law.

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