Texas Governor Greg Abbott Is Mighty Close to Owing Margaret Atwood Some Royalties

·6-min read
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To This Post)

Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s goin’ down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin’ gets done, and where the rovin’ gambler, he is really bored.

We begin in Texas, where Governor Greg Abbott is perilously close to owing Margaret Atwood some hefty royalties. From the Texas Tribune:

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Wednesday a measure that would prohibit in Texas abortions as early as six weeks — before some women know they are pregnant — and open the door for almost any private citizen to sue abortion providers and others…Abortion rights advocates have promised to challenge the new law, which they consider one of the most extreme nationwide and the strictest in Texas since the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. It would amount to an outright ban on abortions, as the six-week cutoff is two weeks after a missed menstrual cycle, opponents say.

Between this, and the decision by the Supreme Court to rule on an equally restrictive anti-choice statute from Mississippi, every “moderate” position that tried to middle this issue evaporates. For example, “leaving it to the states” gives us Mississippi, and Texas, and half the country, in which the right to privacy is truncated for 50 percent of the population. The 14th Amendment is broad in Massachusetts but narrow in Texas? That’s an open invitation to the kind of constitutional crazy-quilt that ends up in Fugitive Slave Laws and other clumsy attempts to make sense out of legal reality. But, not content with reliving the glory days of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Abbott and his state legislature decided that a little touch of East Germany was just what the situation needed.

Instead of having the government enforce the law, the bill turns the reins over to private citizens — who are newly empowered to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps someone get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The person would not have to be connected to someone who had an abortion or to a provider to sue.

Proponents of the new law hope to get around the legal challenges that have tied up abortion restrictions in the courts. While abortion providers typically sue the state to stop a restrictive abortion law from taking effect, there’s no state official enforcing Senate Bill 8 — so there’s no one to sue, the bill’s proponents say.

The next time you hear a conservative decrying legal “technicalities” and “loopholes,” feel free to laugh in their face. This is turning the law against itself for purely political reasons. More ominously, the lengthy litigation that this law inevitably will occasion likely won’t come to an end until the Supreme Court rules on the Mississippi case. This is one of a number of laws that are being passed in anticipation of the demise of Roe and Casey. Way back, when Hillary Rodham Clinton was talking about the vast right-wing conspiracy, she really was lowballing the whole business.

We move on to Arizona for an update on the ongoing farce in Maricopa County, Arizona. GOP chair Kelli (Chemtrails) Ward is threatening to have the county’s officials arrested if those officials do not obey the Cyber Ninjas and the rest of the death-eaters.

"There have to be consequences," Ward earlier this week. "There could be arrests of people who are refusing to comply.”

Please, baby Jeebus, I ask for so little. Let this happen, preferably on live television.

(On the brighter side, the attempt to bring the wonders of Crazy People Trying to Count to Michigan seems to have failed.)

Photo credit: Ralph Freso - Getty Images
Photo credit: Ralph Freso - Getty Images

We move along to Tennessee, where Governor Bill Lee has launched the state into another front of the idiot culture wars, whereby taxpayers there are going to have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend egregiously cruel new laws. Yes, dear friends, we are back to bathroom bills again. From ABC News:

The Republican governor signed the bill Friday, cementing another policy into law this year in Tennessee that targets the transgender community. Numerous anti-transgender measures have advanced recently in GOP-led statehouses across the country, including in Texas, Alabama and Arkansas.

Under the bathroom measure, a student, parent or employee could sue in an effort to claim monetary damages “for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered” if school officials allow a transgender person into the bathroom or locker room when others are in there. They also could take legal action if required to stay in the same sleeping quarters as a member of the opposite sex at birth, unless that person is a family member. The proposal says schools must try to offer a bathroom or changing facility that is single-occupancy or that is for employees if a student or employee “desires greater privacy when using a multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility” designated for their sex at birth.

Ah, yes, the ni shagu nazad—“Not one step backwards”—strategy again. Nothing is ever settled. No issue is ever resolved. Politics as hamster wheel, and the lives of citizens be damned.

And we conclude, as is our custom, in the great state of Oklahoma, whence Blog Official Quarantine Escape Artist Friedman of the Plains brings us the story of yet another governor with his eye squarely on the ball—which apparently talks back, but only to him. From the Tulsa World:

“Chick-fil-A has a sauce shortage,” the fundraising email reads. “And you want to know why? Because of Joe Biden’s radical liberal policies.

“Gas stations are having mass shortages, gas prices are soaring, the cost of groceries is through the roof, and now Chick-fil-a (sic) has a sauce shortage. And who is paying the price? Everyday Americans.” A Stitt campaign spokesman confirmed that the email was recently sent to supporters and that the response has been positive. Stitt was asked about it on Monday. “I haven’t seen it,” the governor said. “I don’t know exactly what you are talking about. You would have to ask the campaign about it.”

The company website blames the sauce shortage on “industry-wide supply-chain shortages.” Looking at the ingredients, I’m left to wonder if Joe Biden’s socialist meddling has cut the United States off from the worldwide Hickory Smoke Flavor reserves, or from the international anthem-gum market. Or maybe Governor Stitt is full of a certain familiar barnyard ingredient. But hey, slackers. Make it yourself and bring it through the drive-thru.

This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.

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