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Killing Roe softly

Right there with them

Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to add here from yesterday. As of this writing, SCOTUS has still not acted on the emergency petition from Texas abortion providers over SB8. SCOTUS will issue a response to that request, but they can take their time about it if they want to. That right there tells you something.

Most of the stories out there that I’m seeing are further explainers of SB8 and how it works and what the current legal status is, some with a side helping of justified rage. They mention the state court injunction in passing, as it has a very limited effect. There are stories about the effect this law has already had on providers and patients, and stories about what SCOTUS has done by doing nothing and what we can do about it (nothing easy, unfortunately). There are reactions from politicians, with Democrats promising to fight, and calls to action from folks who understand that if you’re not ditching the filibuster, you really can’t fight effectively. And on and on.

And so we wait, and we try to figure out how to move forward, and we really better internalize the idea that 1) we need to win more elections, and 2) we need to effectively wield the power we have when we have it. This is what happens otherwise.


A deeply divided Supreme Court is allowing a Texas law that bans most abortions to remain in force, for now stripping most women of the right to an abortion in the nation’s second-largest state.

The court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency appeal from abortion providers and others that sought to block enforcement of the law that went into effect Wednesday. But the justices also suggested that their order likely isn’t the last word on whether the law can stand because other challenges to it can still be brought.

The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant.

It is the strictest law against abortion rights in the United States since the high court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and part of a broader push by Republicans nationwide to impose new restrictions on abortion. At least 12 other states have enacted bans early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked from going into effect.

The high court’s order declining to halt the Texas law came just before midnight Wednesday. The majority said those bringing the case had not met the high burden required for a stay of the law.

“In reaching this conclusion, we stress that we do not purport to resolve definitively any jurisdictional or substantive claim in the applicants’ lawsuit. In particular, this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts,” the unsigned order said.

Chief Justice John Roberts dissented along with the court’s three liberal justices. Each of the four dissenting justices wrote separate statements expressing their disagreement with the majority.

Roberts noted that while the majority denied the request for emergency relief “the Court’s order is emphatic in making clear that it cannot be understood as sustaining the constitutionality of the law at issue.”

The vote in the case underscores the impact of the death of the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last year and then-president Donald Trump’s replacement of her with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Had Ginsburg remained on the court there would have been five votes to halt the Texas law.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor called her conservative colleagues’ decision “stunning.” “Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand,” she wrote.

I’m just sick.

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  1. policywonqueria says:


    While the sky is falling in Texas, why is no one talking about better contraception?

    Much rather, the “need” for elective abortion is assumed a priori, and the “right” to deliberately cause fetal demise propagated as a mantra. Sonner or later Roe v. Wade may be overturned, but that won’t be the end of sex or human reproduction, or the debate over how best to handle it as a matter of public policy.

    If there were better contraception, there would be less undesired pregancy in the aggregate, and less “need” for abortion services. Correspondingly, there would be less need for abortion tourism to other states in an altered legal environment where abortion is no longer a viable business proposition inside Texas.


    Not to mention that thanks to the widespread media coverage about the new restrictive abortion law, members of the fertile segment of the Texas population have the ability to respond accordingly by practicing greater responsibility in intimate interactions with fellow-fertiles of the opposite sex. In other words, there are still choices at the individual level to prevent a “need” for an after-the-fact medical intervention.

    Not to mention that the poor/underprivileged-women-can’t-afford-a-kid rationale could be addressed by providing free prenatal and postnatal care, and a supporting family policy like other advanced democracies have it, like a child benefit and/or income replacement for mother and/or partner in the child-rearing enterprise.


    It is intellectually dishonest of the pro-choice forces to pretend that the problem of an excess supply of unwanted products of conception cannot be addressed in large part through prohylaxis. And the unwanted nature of an unplanned pregnancy might not be such if the economic consequences of having a small child were not as severe as they are under the public-policy status quo as it now is. That nontrivial gets ignored likewise even though the burdens of childrearing as invoked as a rationale for abortions.

    Abortion is obviously not the only, nor the best, form of birth control, or of curtailing the growth of the non-white population segment for that matter. Recall prior comments of Bill Daniels (since apparently banned from this forum) in favor of abortion on the ground that it helps reduce the growth of the minority population, which self-admitted supremacists view as desirable in a post-slavery era. So much for the disparate impact angle of the debate.  


    It is likewise intellectually dishonest on the part of Republicans to be against sex education in schools pre-puberty and against government-sponsored availability of contraceptives to persons who have attained sexual maturity.

    Sex and contraception education, along with provision of contraceptives, could and should be school-based and prescribed by state law, so as to assure universal implementation and nondiscriminatory access (given that schooling is already compulsory and therefore universal, and therefore provides the best administrativce infrastruction for both sex education and for assuring access to contraceptives).

    No student is forced to engage in sexual activity merely by being give accurate information about sexual functioning and human reproduction. Nobody is forced to put a condom on an erect penis if handed one for a tryout in the privacy of the adolescent person’s bedroom, whether alone or with an intimate partner. Ditto for other means of contraception.

    To the extent necessary for societal acceptance, religious or other philosophically-based opt-out could be provided for in the relevant legislation prescribing school-based sex provision of contraceptive devices and services. There should be no opt-out from classes of human sexuality and reproduction, however, as this is obviously a matter that affects each and every person. And the propagation of the human race.

    The school-based approach obviously would not be the sole solution to the problem, nor would it be a fail-safe public policy intervention to prevent most teen preganancies more specifically. But it could move us forward as a society in a way that represents middle ground where none is currently acknowledged to exist.
    By reducing the incidence of unwanted pregnancies in the first instance through prevention.

    The assortment of interim supreme writings can be found here: (12 pages in all)

    While antagonistic, they all represent a myopic view of the problem of what to do about the phenomenon of unwanted pregnancies.

    None seems to even acknowledge a place for individual sexual responsibility and the ability of each of the two participants in heterosexual sexual intercourse to take action to prevent a “need” for an abortion. 

  2. C.L. says:

    @PolicyWonk…. that’s quite a rabbit hole, and IMHO, not really the issue…

    The issue is, my body/my choice. Period. Nobody should get to decide whether a child goes to full term or not but the Mother.

    The Republicans and Abbot tried to cloak this position as best they could, but it all boiled down to ‘My God (and my political party) says….’. Abbott even referenced to his/our ‘Creator’ (?) when shilling for this from his wheeled chair. Couldn’t have blown a dog whistle any louder.

    The State’s going to be so deep in lawsuits over this, they’re going to have to tap into some of the $2B in border wall funds to pay all the lawyers.

  3. J says:

    The Catholic Church and the Evangelicals are behind all of the problems with prophylactic availability and use, sex education and attacks on women’s clinics. The Republicans have adopted these positions to curry favor with these voters. Without the Church dogma there wouldn’t be much of a issue.

  4. J says:

    So, the new Texas law allows persons who hold certain religious views to attack those who don’t hold these views in court with the blessings of the State, while curtailing the rights of the non-religious persons.

  5. C.L. says:


    ‘Murica !