After taking a few days to think about the new Texas anti-abortion law, it seems Texas may be on to something. Under the law, any private citizen may sue anyone getting an abortion or assisting a woman in obtaining one.
So, if a Texan’s 14-year-old daughter is impregnated by a 35-year-old sexual pervert, and mom advises her to get an abortion, that same 35-year-old sexual pervert or anyone else could sue mom, who will be required to pay his attorney’s fees and a $10,000 judgment.
If parents don’t have enough money to pay for the procedure and borrow it from grandma, she, too, can be sued for another $10,000. Then there’s the kind aunt who drove her to the clinic. Another lawsuit. Another 10 grand.
Her best friend, your neighbor’s daughter, who accompanied her, holding her hand, helping her to keep it together, or the pastor who counsels the girl or her parents? Yep. More lawsuits. More $10,000 pots of gold awaiting at the end of those legislatively manufactured rainbows. Everyone who assisted the teenager will have to hire their own lawyers and spend thousands to defend each of those lawsuits.
By exposing citizens to lawsuits and huge financial penalties, lawmakers expect to close clinics and end abortions.
I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he said, “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Critics call it vigilantism. It will pit neighbors against neighbors. For radical abortion foes, that is the law’s real beauty. Sinister genius. Cruelty is the point.
I’m thinking the Texas scheme has other helpful applications. What if Texan logic was deployed to end drunken driving? Anyone selling a drink to customers, leading to intoxication, could be sued. Ten-thousand dollars a pop. The friend who bought a round of drinks? Now a defendant. Everyone in the bar watching her walk out the door and get into her car could be sued.
Bars would close. No more drunken drivers.
Use the Texas plan to address sexual abuse? What a deterrent if everyone witnessing the boss sexually intimidating employees could pocket $10,000 by coming forward instead of ignoring the abuse. Witnesses would come out of the woodwork. Some might be tempted to make up stories in order to pick up that kind of money.
That was a concern when Texas targeted those assisting others in obtaining abortions. Lawmakers decided it served their political purposes, despite the risk. Why not other purposes?
The Texas plan could stop drivers from running red lights. You’d never have to helplessly ask, “Why is there never a cop around when you need one?” You would be “the cop.” You could enforce traffic laws, making streets safer and enriching yourself at the same time.
Endless possibilities. Law enforcement claims they don’t have enough officers or resources to cite everyone refusing to follow the law where mask mandates were imposed. Public officials backed away because it was impossible to enforce.
Thanks to the Lone Star State’s anti-woman legislators, we now have a workable solution. Bands of citizens, roaming the streets, using their iPhones to photograph offenders, rushing to the courthouse to turn in neighbors for a $10,000 payday.
Imagine drug dealers and bank robbers converted to respectable bounty hunters and earning an honest living by turning on other criminals. Strangers suing strangers. Ordinary citizens with a financial stake in enforcing the law.
The U.S. Supreme Court is so flummoxed that it stood on the sidelines when the devious scheme applied to abortions. How could they complain about expanding the law’s reach? Think about it. Taken to its logical conclusion, magnifying the Texas model would mean eventually defunding the police. Taxpayers could also eliminate expensive prosecutors and criminal courts, as citizen-vigilantes fill those jobs and assume their duties.
It’s a brave new world – Orwellian, but creepily effective. It’s what we’ve come to expect from the unhinged radical right. Get used to it.