With every month that passes after the now arch-right Supreme Court's decision erasing federal abortion rights in this country, new state restrictions are codified. Any pundit who speculated that the furious public backlash to new abortion bans would cause Republicans to cool their heels a bit, as midterms approach, is a silly person that you don't have to listen to. No, conservative states are very quickly codifying restrictions that ban abortion care in nearly all cases, and they're being helped along by all those once-aspirational "trigger" laws that state Republicans passed during the Roe days as sops to a loud but narrow anti-abortion base.
Three new trigger laws went into effect today, in Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas. Tennessee now bans abortion at any point in pregnancy and, because this is Tennessee, removes rape and incest exceptions. Idaho's ban also becomes near-universal, and because this is Idaho looks to put doctors who perform abortions in prison for up to a half-decade.
Texas, the state that now-infamously brought "bounty hunter" laws to the books that declared that states could violate whatever constitutional rights they wanted to violate so long as they privatized the violating, doesn't need to rely on such backhanded schemes now that Justice Samuel Alito has declared that American women are entitled to no more rights than they would have received from torch-wielding witch hunters of the 17th century. Texas can now straight-up criminalize abortion procedures, and will be throwing doctors who perform them in prison.
This feels like a very good place to insert, as not-random aside, that the political director of the anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life just got himself arrested for soliciting sex from a child. Wow, another arch-conservative child predator? It's always the ones you most expect.
Still, that might explain the group's passion for making sure raped Texas children are denied abortion care. It's something they have more experience with than they've been letting on, maybe?
In Michigan, the situation is still absolute chaos. The state has a nasty anti-abortion trigger law from 1931 on the books, but state Attorney General Dana Nessel has refused to enforce that law. Republican county prosecutors, however, have vowed that they very much will be enforcing it, which means that whether abortion has been criminalized in Michigan depends, right now, on which county you live in and how politically ambitious the Republican officials are there. All of that is still making its way up the chain of appeals as we speak, and nobody has any idea whether there are any abortion rights left in the state or whether it's something that's just going to switch back and forth with each election cycle.
It's only going to get worse from here. North Dakota's trigger law is set to go into effect tomorrow, and Republicans are pushing for similar near-total bans across the country. Banning abortion remains wildly unpopular, and recent election results suggest that voters are indeed willing to turn out to protect abortion rights. State Republican lawmakers, however, clearly do not care.
Whether that's because they're confident they can withstand whatever the voters want to dish out in November or it's because they're so deep in the hoax-and-fascism bubble that they can't even conceive that the voters might try isn't clear. But it appears Republican states will be locking in new near-total abortion bans even as the midterms approach; reining in such extremism is no longer something that the party could manage if it wanted to.
Abortion rights, climate change, and gun safety are all on the ballot this fall, and there are literally thousands of ways to get involved in turning our voters. Plug into a federal, state, or local campaign from our GOTV feed at Mobilize and help Democrats and progressives win in November.
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