776 Comments

This once upon a time Alabama practicing attorney tries to imagine legions of self-righteous pro-lifers shutting down the Texas courts, which have not the personnel nor judges to process legions of private bounty hunter lawsuits.

I try to imagine the self-righteous pro-lifers proving in court that a woman who went to Planned Parenthood, or anywhere, actually had an abortion there. Aren't medical records privileged?

What lawyer would take such a case with only a possible $10,000 bounty reward? Perhaps a lawyer who had hundreds of such cases on a 50 percent contingency fee.

If I were a lawyer defending such cases, I would put the self-righteous plaintiffs on the witness stand and ask them if they are Christians?

After they say, Yes, I ask them if they ever raised on their dime an unwanted baby to prevent an abortion?

After they say, No, I ask them if they ever offered to raise on their dime an unwanted child to prevent an abortion?

After they say, No, I ask them if they are not guilty of not trying to save unwanted babies, thus they killed the unwanted babies?

After they say, No, I ask the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, based on the plaintiffs' sworn testimony that they are guilty of killing unwanted babies.

If the judge then gleefully dismisses the lawsuits, the plaintiffs can appeal.

If the judge ignores the evidence and does not dismiss the lawsuits, I ask the plaintiffs if they if read the Bible?

After they say, Yes, I ask them if the Bible is the inerrant, literal word of God?

After they say, Yes, I hand them a New King James Bible and ask them to open it to Genesis 2:7 and read it to the court:

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

I ask the judge to dismiss, based on the plaintiffs' sworn testimony life begins with the first breath of life.

If the judge gleefully rules against the plaintiffs, then the plaintiffs can appeal.

If the judge ignores the evidence and rules with the plaintiffs, then I file the appeals.

I get on Oprah.

NPR has me on the air.

I am vilified on FOX News.

I am preached and prophesied against in evangelical churches.

I am shot and killed leaving the courthouse.

The shooter claims it was to prevent me killing any more babies.

The State Attorney prosecutes me in the grave.

I put the State Attorney on the witness stand and ask if he/she's a Christian?

Texas lawyers and pro se defendants adopt my legal strategy.

The Texas courts are choked to death and unable to handle other kinds of cases.

FOX News and he Christian right go haywire.

The US Supreme Court gets a chance to rule on Genesis 2:7.

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I sure did enjoy this, Mr. Bashinsky! I think you should go on Oprah now!

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Do you know anyone who works for Opra? :-)

Once upon a time, Jane Pauley interviewed me on TODAY about my first book, HOME BUYERS: Lambs to the Slaughter? Later, CNN and CBS Morning News interviewed me about my 3rd book, KILL ALL THE LAWYERS? A Clients Guide to Hiring, Firing, Using and Suing Lawyers. All was in italics.

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Perhaps you could get on Democracy Now! and the Thom Hartmann show.

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Don't know how to go about that.

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You need to write a letter with descriptions to the producer. They control.

For Oprah it is the same; you can find names on web.

But to find total details, you need to be a member of IMDb pro.

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I write several times to Oora some years ago and got no reply from anyone.

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I do not know Oprah or anyone who works for her. Heck, for more than a year I've been asking all my friends to give me a nice introduction to Lawrence O'Donnell, and nothing has come from that yet, either!

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I wonder if Heather knows Oprah?

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Actually, we just learned that someone here in this forum taught Oprah when she was in, I think, junior high or high school!

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This the type of entry tgat would peak her interest!!

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My bet is that Oprah knows about Heather. My suggestion is contact Gayle King who works at CBS, I think cohosting their morning show. Gayle and Oprah are besties.

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Yep! Would love to see that!

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Sloan, I am going to request that the Forum inaugurate the LFAA annual awards show. Twelve winners will be chosen from the following categories:

a) most informative comment

b) least informative

c) most confusing

d) most irrelevant

e) snarkiest

f) kindest

g) best written

h) angriest

i) funniest

j) most original

k) more caring

l) plagiarized

I would nominate 'Sloan's Texas Cases' for three of them.

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Me too...but which 3?

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Hi, Stuart. I gave Sloan the option for that and thought he'd jump at the chance, selecting 'plagiarized' to garner some more attention. Why don't you pick the categories that you think apply to your style?

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False modesty precludes the possibily of A, H, G and J of course and an inevitable desire for contradictory praise pushes towards B, C and D but i think I'll leave it to others to respond while hoping from time to time that I excel in all categories without necessarily steadily dominating or staying with any of them. Variety is supposed to be the spice of life, Fern. I like joining in the fun, provoking from time to time, informing as much as possible and helping people rise above themselves all the time. Facts and their oft intuitive analysis are always the base rock on which i, like you, wish to stand. Well expressed, they help more people get there.

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I feel facts, sometimes, too much. Your reply veers very near Sloan for comedy. Modesty began to disappear after you wrote the letter D, but we stand together on some rock somewhere!

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Kindred, complementary spirits will always find a place to stand together, Fern. It's a pleasure.

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Heh, well, I certainly plagiarized Genesis 2:7. As far as I know, I'm the only person who keeps putting that passage to the religious right. Started doing it in, mmmm, 1994.

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Sloan, What do you think -- a counterfeit TONY Award medallion for plagiarism, a scale of injustice plaque for your humor and a sweet treat of your choice for originality?

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Thanks, Wonder how the the Texas red spectrum would vote?

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The wouldn't vote because they don't come to this enlightened place.

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I'm not going to get on enemy's front line. Sloan, please pick three of the categories as the 'artist's choice' and post. Thanks.

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Fern, proposed it, then declined to pony up. So, here's my votes at this moment, subject to further wrinkles in space and time.

snarkiest

funniest

most original

Alternatively

most informative content

best written

most original

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Well played, sir. I particularly like the Genesis quote with life conferred by the first breath. But... The primary problem I'm seeing is the new law works less as legal mechanism than as a powerful disincentive for any woman to consider getting an abortion, since even making an inquiry puts her at risk of exposure. As well as the bind it puts on any Dr.'s office or facility that offers the procedure, since they now become sitting duck targets of lawsuits. Which will encourage them to cease providing that care, at least until there is some clarity on how to proceed. This law is particularly insidious in multiple ways. I'm not fully aware of its status in regard to the Supreme Court, it seems they simply decided not to decide - yet. I can't imagine it will be allowed to stand once they do. There are, of course, more restrictions coming, as the anti-women's health crowd see their opportunity with the current trump stacked court. The best hope to retain women's medical and privacy rights seems to be Republicans' fear of a popular backlash against their invasive rule-making causing them electoral losses.

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As I understand it, the law does not target the woman herself. Some great websites have popped up seemingly overnight. This one was shared by another commenter here: www.needabortion.org

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I think you're right. The law still works on a psychological level of fear though. Who can a woman turn to for assistance, when even asking can endanger someone else?

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Looks to me like the Devil walking on the earth, this Texas statute.

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Draconian fascist law.

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In case you don't know, Georgia is investigating the Texas law, to see how they can amend their heartbeat law to mimic it.

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Her healthcare providers. They are legally obligated by HIPAA to protect her healthcare info. Also it’s for $$ not jail time or bodily harm and as Sloan says, it will be a slow slog thru the courts and hopefully by the time any payment is legally determined due it will all be taken care of constitutionally? I don’t have a grasp on all of it but this is what it appears to be.

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I do wonder what lawyers will charge for filing and representing these bounty hunters in court?

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From reader comments under my comment, it appears abortion providers in Texas have, in the main, stopped providing abortions because of the statute. I can imagine that was what the makers and backers of the statute hoped would happen. Perhaps Lady Karma will see to it that, in their next lifetimes, the makers and backers will be unwanted children in Afghanistan and similar places.

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Long time ago and far, far away I grew up in an evangelical church in Wheaton, IL. I love the Genesis 2:7 quote, especially from the "old translation" King James (maybe a gay king). As a teen I even remember that my home church was for making abortion legal, before tricky dick used it to try and split the Roman Catholics. We even were taught that you shouldn't marry a Catholic but my first serious girlfriend was a Catholic so I guess that is were I joined the lost souls.

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Long time ago and far, far away I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and my mother finally bolted that church and took me and my siblings with her to a newly formed Episcopal church, and all hell broke loose from her parents and my father's parents and their Baptist ministers, as if my mother had damned herself and her children to hell. Abortion was not an issue back then. By and by, after several passes, I drifted away from churches, and eventually I came to wonder when am I ever not in church? We are in church right now, aren't we?

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Your mom’s rebellion served you well Sloan. ❤️

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Terrific logic! And given civil suits are low priority, what are the chances that one will be heard in the next five years? Great post.

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I meant literally how the lawsuits could be defended by Texas attorneys and/or pro se defendants in civil lawsuits brought under this statute. Such an insurgency could make the Texas civil courts a giant international circus. The U.S. Supreme Court would be hard pressed not to take the case and rule on the statute and on Genesis 2:7.

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In my dreaming world, everyone woman in Texas who seeks an abortion and everyone who even tangentially assists them would post public notice of what they've done to make sure there's a huge wave of such cases in the courts. And if the Texas bigots decline to bring suit for all of them, then the friends and spouses of the "offenders" should bring those suits to make sure that Texas courts never again hear another case on any other subject.

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Regardless of what happens to the Texas court system, it might be a lot harder for a while, or for a long while, to get abortions in Texas, and it's getting the abortion that triggers the statute and its bounty hunting remedies and penalties. I imagine other red spectrum states will pass similar or same law.

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Meanwhile desperate women are left alone again, providers disappearing, empathic counsel threatened, the moralizing field day grinding them down further. No exclusion for RAPE or INCEST?? They’ve gone mad.

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Now there’s an interesting thought. Strength in solidarity and at the same time annihilating the shame. In this generation, I can definitely see women who are ready for that.

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Absolutely, LK. If you think the Arizona Cyber Ninjas are slow, you should get a look at some courts' dockets, especially now in the midst of our pandemic!

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For what it's worth, I think most Christians would counter your initial argument with Jeremiah 1:5, rather than Genesis 2:7. Jeremiah 1:5 is the scripture most frequently cited in anti-abortion arguments - "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee..." Now, of course, the rest of the scripture refers to Jeremiah's pre-ordained calling to be a prophet, but as so often happens, scripture is taken out of context to prove a point. In this case, Christians, at least evangelical Christians use Jeremiah 1:5 to prove that life begins at conception (or even before!). Although I am personally a pro-life Christian (and I mean pro-life, as opposed to the narrow anti-abortion mind-set) I am heartily opposed to the new Texas law and to any attempts to overturn RvW.

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Jeremiah 1:5 is about God knowing the soul before it became a human being. Christians tend to read the Bible to suit their perspectives. But since you raised that from Jerimiah, I will ask when does the soul attach to a fetus? Just because it has a heartbeat, does it have a soul? Isn't having a soul what separates human beings from animals? does a soul attach to an embryo? Or, does a soul attach when the embryo is born and takes the first breath of life? I dare anyone to dare to say they know then a soul attaches.

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Well, I wasn't expecting a theological debate, nor was I attempting to initiate one. But since you raise the question of souls, from a purely anatomical perspective who can prove that there is even such a thing as a soul, let alone say they know at what point a soul enters a body.

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If you lived in my skin a little while, you'd know for a fact that souls exist, and angels, and demons, and God, and the Devil. I have seen ETs, they exist. But that's a bit afield from the Texas anti-abortion statute, which is the handiwork of Christian fanatics, so I meet them on their home turf (they think) and give them their own scriptures and doctrines beliefs in ways that are not convenient to them.

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Sloan, I do believe in God, and angels, the devil, and demons from having lived in my own skin, but you're correct - this is all far afield from the statute in question, which violates civil rights and demonstrates the unwillingness of the SCOTUS to uphold the minimal gains that have been achieved in the fight for civil rights.

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My a bit cheeky comment, which stirred far more discussion than anything I had published anywhere online, was my best shot at how to go about dealing with the Texas statute on the frontline in Texas. I am willing to bet the ranch that I'm the only lawyer (albeit no longer practicing) in America who even dreamed of taking the approach in court, which I suggested.

This really is about religion, plain and simple. The other side are fanatics, in my opinion. So, I meet them on what they consider their turf, and I put inconvenient facts and questions to them, which are based on their own scriptures and beliefs. Imagine me being allowed to do that on Oprah, NPR, Anderson Cooper, Tucker Carlsen. Bashing them with Genesis 2:7. Asking them when a soul attaches? And when they dare to quote science, I remind them they rejected science during the Covid pandemic; and they rejected evolution theory; the Bible is their science.

There is yet another court, in which everyone stands trial. That court is not of this world. I stand on trial in that court every day of my life. The judges there are not human beings. Their rulings and sentences play out in their own way and time. Karma is very real; sometimes it is quick, sometimes it takes a while.

I heard last night that blue states are considering passing similar bounty hunter laws aimed at people who own illegal guns, and that is freaking out conservative Republicans. Perhaps that threat might influence the very religious justices on the Supreme Court, if it ends up having to deal with the Texas anti-abortion statute?

Meanwhile, mental, emotional and spiritual mayhem perhaps well describes the Texas statute's impact in Texas. Perhaps the ACLU, the National Women's Center, Southern Poverty Law Center, etc., will file lawsuits in Texas, challenging the statute. Or, what about armed insurrection? Well, perhaps not in Texas, where red spectrum folks probably have many more guns than blue spectrum folks.

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If humans have souls animals do too. They’re living belngs.

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Shush, you could get burned at the stake in some places for saying that :-)

I think the issue is sentient beings, are animals sentient compared to humans? Perhaps dolphins and whales are, or even more sentient? There was a Star Trek film about that, wasn't there? :-)

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Humans have not turned out very expert in judging the sentience of others (starting with women but not ending there) and now scientists are studying the sentience and communication powers of plants. Life is sentient.

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Humans indeed have gone down many rabbit holes, but I wonder from your words if you think fetuses are sentient and therefore never should be aborted therefore?

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Your comment Sloan brings to mind "To Kill a Mockingbird." I imagine your line of questioning will be objected to by the plaintiff's attorney, and the judge will immediately sustain.

Regarding compensation, there is no shortage of ambulance-chaser-type attorneys who will make fast work of monetizing the bounty hunters against abortionist sinners. Let's not forget, that this law denies equal protection under the law because even defendants who win are denied reimbursement for legal costs. This opens the door to frivolous lawsuits.

I'm guessing, there won't be many cases after the first few when defendants realize that it's pointless to mount a defense in a "legal" system that is hell-bent on punishing them.

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Imagine the lives of the defendants. Undoubtedly some of the cases, especially the early ones, will be publicized. Some sanctimonious right wingers somewhere will go further and publish the names of all to shame them.

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And to paint bullseyes on them for the more fanatical right wingers to take to a level not contemplated in the Texas statute - vigilante

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Yeah, literal vigilante since may R majority states have passed laws allowing guns ANYWHERE including schools and polling places. If other states do likewise in regards to voting, I can easily imagine a Proud Boy with his AK 47 slung over his shoulder and loudly saying something like "Boy, I hope none of these voters make an error on their ballots since they can be sued." Intimidation much?

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Heh, I'm Alabama born and raised. To Kill a Mockingbird is maybe the most important novel ever written in America. Yes, I might very well meet that kind of judge in some Texas courtrooms. Hopefully, Texas has other kinds of judges, too. This statute opens the doors of Hell in my opinion. I mean that in the full Biblical sense.

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We named our son after Atticus Finch.

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Wear a bullet proof vest. I look forward to reading more!!! Lol

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Some days I hope a sniper would take me out and save me from dying of various old age ailments creeping up on me faster now. It really pisses me off that so-called Christians against abortion do not line the block around Planned Parenthood, for just one example, betting to adopt and raise on their dimes, pregnant women's unwanted future babies.

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Sloan, I am so glad to have asked the questions I asked, and that you answered the ones I didn't ask but would have if I had thought of them. Thank you so much!

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I wondered about this. Plus the funding of it. My understanding is that the 10K truly is the bounty paid to the person making the complaint. The legal fees are also pain in addition to that. I was surprised that clinics stopped providing services at midnight. Is it legal for private fascist donors to pay these bounties and legal fees? Surely Texas tax payers will not stand for it. And yes, frivolous suits clogging up the real justice work?? How will that go over?

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I just reported Cecelia Abbott for getting an abortion. When asked how I know, I say that I'm the one who got her preggers. Y'know, that's what guys do...

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naughty boy!

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Dontcha know it!

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My guess is that Texas isn't really expecting citizens to act as vigilantes, because many abortion providers will cease performing procedures, and pregnant women will be afraid to seek abortions. As pointed out, this will open the door for other repressive laws, though, and I believe that's the point.

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I'm afraid you are right, Nancy. Our best hope is Democrats winning the 2022 election because of this.

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Yes, elections are the best hope, however threatened they may be, if not the only hope, short of a disuniting of the supposedly united states of America. Trouble with 'disuniting' or 'fracturing' as mentioned above is that the split lacks geographic boundaries as the 1861 attempted split did. Where is the 'fracture line' in a State, or a nation for that matter, that is split 60-40? I do not expect an answer in my lifetime.

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I too have been trying to figure out what a split would look like. If you're in NJ, you're good to go. But if you're in FL, not so much. Virginia is really split. The denser populated cities make us a blue state, but the rural part is very red.

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You know who wants a split more than anything?

Russia.

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I agree, Lynell. If we lose the midterms, all hopes will be dashed. BTW, I can't find the earlier post about the women's marches. I want to sign up, and it would save me some time if I could find the link.

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I think you are right, Nancy. Lots of abortion providers don't want to be sued, although, not being a pregnant woman who doesn't want to carry the baby to full term, I don't know about how they might proceed. I can imagine crossing state lines, like in the old days; and various not pretty downwind outcomes, while the makers and the backers of this statute are certain where they stand with God.

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Thanks, Sloan. The women who can afford to do so will probably cross state lines to find services in a more sympathetic location, although many nearby states have also greatly limited such services. The people who can't afford to leave Texas will be the most affected. Somehow, I don't believe that most of the proponents of this disgusting legislation care a whit about their standing with God. I believe the majority are patting themselves on the back, having placed a foot squarely on the back on women, and are hoping that this legislation will also restrict civil rights in many ways. They must be stopped, and I believe it is now necessary to expand the Supreme Court, as well. Hypocrites, all!

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Like I said the other day, out of state providers need to take turns making house calls in Texas. Kind of like Doctors without Borders......solves the problem of women needing to travel, Texas providers getting bagged, and what can the nosy neighbors prove without health records which are protected by HIPPA?

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HIPAA. I do that every damn time.

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Based on some of the reader comments here, that seems to be the effect in Texas, and I can't imagine hell pregnant Texas women who don't want to give birth already are experiencing internally, nor how they are coping, nor how it will play out later for them and, if they give birth, their children.

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I don't know if or how the Texas statue rewards the bounty hunters' lawyers. Because Texas Legislature passed the statute, lawsuits brought under it cannot be viewed frivolous by the courts. I think it's probably legal for private citizens to fund these kinds of lawsuits. Based on all I read online and see on TV, the red spectrum controls most of Texas. I have learned over the years that religious fanatics cannot be reached by logic, and perhaps not even by God. What I wrote was meant to be a blueprint for an insurgency in Texas against this is private hunter law.

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My understanding is that once found guilty, the defendants (spouse, clinic, friend, taxi, etc) will be required to pay the $10,000 bounty and legal fees of the accuser. This is why clinics closed so quickly. They are the most obvious target and these costs would bankrupt them.

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If the defendant is found not guilty, there will be no compensation for his/her legal fees or any other compensation. Just another layer of the terror.

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These clinics provide other healthcare services. All who work at the clinic would seemingly fall under HIPAA laws which should take preempt any state law? So if a woman does not share her personal health info with anyone else who is to know )in any way that can be proven). Or are they simply operating on presumption??

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I misspoke. Most clinics aren’t actually closing, they have instead refused to perform abortions over 6 weeks, eliminating 75% of their business. Many had already closed due to multiple restrictions.

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Ok good to know. Thank you! So private citizens with deep pockets and religious fervor can fund other private ratfinks without deep pockets but the same religious fervor? I very much appreciate your comment and response

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Christy The convoluted situation that you discuss reminds me of the Abbot & Costello skit WHO’S ON FIRST, but what you raise is definitely not amusing.

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The Texas statute itself funds the civil lawsuits, private backers (fanatics) can provide even more funding. I can't imagine one Texas civil court judge in his/her right mind worrying about his/her cause load exploding exponentially.

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Here are the words from the statute:

If a claimant prevails in an action brought under this

section, the court shall award:

(1) injunctive relief sufficient to prevent the

defendant from violating this chapter or engaging in acts that aid

or abet violations of this chapter;

(2) statutory damages in an amount of not less than

$10,000 for each abortion that the defendant performed or induced

in violation of this chapter, and for each abortion performed or

induced in violation of this chapter that the defendant aided or

abetted; and

(3) costs and attorney's fees.

(c) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), a court may not award

relief under this section in response to a violation of Subsection

(a)(1) or (2) if the defendant demonstrates that the defendant

previously paid the full amount of statutory damages under

Subsection (b)(2) in a previous action for that particular abortion

performed or induced in violation of this chapter, or for the

particular conduct that aided or abetted an abortion performed or

induced in violation of this chapter.

(d) Notwithstanding Chapter 16, Civil Practice and Remedies

Code, or any other law, a person may bring an action under this

section not later than the sixth anniversary of the date the cause

of action accrues.

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Thanks, William. I tried to use Google search to find the statute and didn't find it. In law school, it was drilled into us when we had anew case to see what the state code (statutes) had to say. Just because the lawmakers who dreamed up this statute are religious fanatics (or politicians seeking to stay in office), doesn't mean they aren't really clever. Crafty works, too. I wonder how clever, or crafty, they will feel when their roll is called up yonder?

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Public funds, Taxpayers funding private investigations, bounty hunters, vigilantly justice and the lawsuit? Crazy.

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You say tomato, I say tomatoe

You sat Crazy, I say Texan

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The defendant pays the fine & costs, not the state.

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not worrying about

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Thank you for helping us sort thru this. I can't imagine that abortion providers would stop providing services unless this presented a real threat to them.

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I was tickled by the possible Freudian slip in this part of your post: “The legal fees are also pain…”. :)

Apologies to Sloan, of course.

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oops, very well could have been a Freudian slip. Once upon a time I wrote, KILL ALL THE LAWYERS? A Clients Guide to Hiring, Firing, Using and Suing Lawyers. All was in italics. Published by Prentice-Hall division of Simon & Shuster.

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I've been away from internet for 3 days, so I'm late to read/respond. My understanding of the language in the Texas statute is that any person anywhere can bring suit against one who aids or abets a woman in obtaining an abortion. Perhaps we get to gumming up the courts and angering enough Texans to take action in quick order if folks from out of state start picking random Republicans and filing suit against them under this statute. Make them spend the money on expensive lawyers to defend. Under the law, there are no frivolous suits. So being a bit loose with the facts appears to be invited! Texas courts would be at a standstill pronto. As I read the statute, plaintiffs would be out the filing fee but the Republican defendants would be out-of-pocket much more and their tax dollars wasted while the courts sort it out!

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I think mean the Republican Plaintiffs? Several comments under my original comment indicated abortion providers in Texas stopped providing abortions, which I think was the statute's true goal.

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No. I mean to use their statute as a sword to bring Texas Civil Courts to a complete standstill. Democrat political operatives could provide the names/addresses of Republican voters. Filing fees would be a small price to pay to gum up the works BEFORE providers are sued. Let's be creative in our response to this outrageous affront by Texas and the SCt.

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Sloan Bashing, I love it! Do you think your killer, who would probably us an assault rifle, claim a 2nd Amendment defense of his right to use such a rifle, since it is designed only to kill human beings?

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Perhaps, but I imagine the shooter's primary defense is the law allows him to use deadly force to prevent someone from killing babies. Perhaps his face might be found in the Jan 6 Capitol mob? Perhaps he knows the QAnon shaman in that mob? Perhaps he attends a mega church in Dallas? Perhaps he becomes a national red spectrum hero and runs for Governor of Texas? Please understand, I belong to no political party and poke what seems to need poking.

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Oops, sorry Sloan, I wrote your last name incorrectly. "Bashinsky", not "Bashing."

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I thought it was metaphor :-)

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Could be!

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The right wing loves religious exemptions so perhaps there should be one here.

This is from Rabbi Danny Horwitz.

I once had to counsel a woman to get an abortion.

Years ago, I was the rabbi of a congregation in greater Kansas City. I knew this woman had preexisting health issues and struggled to take care of the children she already had. Without sharing any other personal details, it was clear to me another pregnancy was going to push her over the edge.

Judaism teaches that potential life is sacred. Nevertheless, our religion also teaches that potential life is not the same as actual life, that a fetus is not a human being. This is directly derived from Scripture. Therefore, even during labor, the pregnant woman’s life has precedence over the life of the fetus. And if we have reason to believe a pregnancy will be a serious threat to the woman’s well-being, whether that be mentally, physically or otherwise, then she will be counseled to abort the fetus, and to do so in a way that maximally protects her own health.

Many books have been written about this, but these are the rules that guide Jewish law and those of us who seek to fulfill it in the practice of our religion. Each case is unique, but the principles remain the same. We would never celebrate the termination of potential life, but neither would we regard it as automatically forbidden. As my doctoral adviser, Rabbi Byron Sherwin, put it, “Judaism is neither pro-life or pro-choice. It depends on the life and it depends on the choice.”

Thus, when this woman came to me for direction, I told her not that she could have an abortion, but that she must have an abortion, that the God of my understanding would want her to do it.

My action would likely be considered a violation of SB 8, the new Texas law making it illegal to assist someone in pursuing an abortion. Thus, this law is a restriction on the practice of my religion. And it would likewise impose a religious standard upon anyone from any religion who believes abortion is not always the evil our state officials believe it to be.

This law cannot stand forever.

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The fallacy, alas, in arguing from the basis of religion is that the fuckers who passed the law don't give a shit about religion: it is just a useful tool with which to attack women, LGBTQ people, and others whose biology or lifestyles they find objectionable.

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I fully agree that many of "those fuckers" don't give a shit about religion except as a useful tool. I thought that William Cash was making an interesting point, or perhaps the rabbi's story does, that the constitutionally protected first amendment right to free exercise of religion provides a different leverage point for arguing the unconstitutionality of Texas SB 8 than the Roe v. Wade use of a (stipulated) right to privacy. It doesn't matter if those fuckers don't give a shit about religion - we can still throw that in their face.

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I immediately thought of freedom of religion once I started reading William's post, and how that could be, as you say, Bill, a leverage point at least for practicing Jews, if it ever got that far.

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But how does all this figure into those you have the right “Freedom from Religion “?

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It seems more likely to me Linda that everything Republicans do is designed to galvanize their fanatical and extremist base while at the same time crucifying the liberal left. Republicans exploit and manufacture social divisions for the sole purpose of divide and conquer, gain and retain power. Who easier to exploit than religious fanatics, political extremists, and anyone who has harbored resentments and grievances for generations (aka white males.)

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Your point is spot-on but unfortunately, it is not only white males who respond (dive in head first) to the exploitation.

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Your comment gives me the opportunity to open an entirely different line of thought. I've lived in the deep south for the last half of my life. I moved here for a job and that job was opening to make friends and develop relationships with people who have lived here all their lives and more often than not they are multi-generational southerners.

I learned firsthand that southern women understand and accept that they live in a male-dominated society. Women are essentially treated like possessions (chattel) by men. Is this true in all cases? Of course not, but it represents the thinking of the vast majority of men and women.

The other important observation I've made is that politics in the south is akin to religion. For example, facts and evidence to the contrary (e.g. science) hold no sway over the party faithful. They see and hear what they choose to believe. The south is the bible belt and it is a society that operates solely on faith. People believe in God and Jesus purely out of faith. Politics is a close cousin to religion and they are totally intermeshed.

So Kasumii, it's true women are equal offenders but make no mistake they live in a male dominated society.

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Spot on

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I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Politics in Alabama, and nearby, IS a RELIGION. Donald Trump recognized that and exploited it, saying what he knew Christian fanatics wanted to hear. They knew he was a very bad man and remade him into an Old Testament bad man prophet. When Trump stood before the Capitol holding up a Bible, when he told them God had sent him to them, they herd angels singing. Not the angels they thought they heard. Trump was pro-choice until he ran president and saw a good way to nab a whole lot of votes by telling the Christian right he would pack the U.S. Supreme Court with their ilk. He brought the American Taliban out Egypt and the wilderness to the walls of Jericho. What they were really like became crystal clear on January 6. That white right mob were proxies for the American Taliban. We know this from the red spectrum's refusal to call for the heads of the white mob and their leader. As much as I admired Ruth Bader Ginsberg, she made a grave mistake not retiring and letting President Obama replace her. Please understand, I am not a Democrat. I belong to no political party. I think belonging to a political party, like belonging to a religion, compromises ability to think and see properly. I very much think God exists. In fact, I know God exists, which is very different from believing it. I know the Devil exists, as well. This is very much a spiritual war, and the American right are not nearly as close to God as they think. The left needs to examine their position with God as well. The left pushed the Roe v. Wade envelop far past what that decision encompassed. The right wing backlash was inevitable.

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I have to call you on your last few sentences, Sloan. Sounds like your religious convictions are being pressed upon us, too. I'd be interested in reading how RvW was pushed too far.

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But way back to the genesis of this idea of women as chattel...someone or something is benefiting by the continuation of this line of thinking...some system is continuing to reap benefits somewhere and to someones. Women are being exploited but to what end? I am skeptical that it is purely ideological. I think there must be a $ benefit being preserved. That's what I am trying to understand. If women really had power, would it diminish returns on investments? Would the economic system become more equitable? Would it hinder the exploitation of labor whereby a small group can reap outsized profit? There must be something at work in the system that is being protected. At this stage in the machine we call the U.S., things may be baked in and not even recognizable. Why else would everyone not recognize the cruelty behind these TX efforts?

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A lot of somebodies are making a killing on women - globally, we have the pink tax, which is the up charge women pay for buying health and beauty aid products, clothing, sporting equipment and more geared for women.

In the US higher insurance premiums for all types of insurance - car, home, life, health; the cost of a simple haircut.

Globally, too, penalizing women because they are women is baked into many cultures - various religions believe a woman is unclean when she menstruates and women are penalized in most places for menstruation by paying a tidy sum for tampons, sanitary pads and cups. So just imagine growing up knowing that once a month you are considered unclean, particularly by men. Women, in a passive way to counter the disgust men regarded them with, took to crafting ceremonies to validate and honor the cycles of their bodies. This may seem like a solution but, IMHO, it's actually caving to make domination in a most cringe worthy manner. And women STILL go through the cleansing rituals men devised fir them centuries ago.

And what about pharmaceutical drug trials? Stroke and cardiac intervention and care for women? Or how women were locked in attic rooms or were institutionalized as hysterics and had ungodly treatments performed on them to "cure" them.

Then there are head coverings and "modest clothing" it's not just Muslim women, but Orthodox Jews and Conservative Christian Sects, Mennonite, Amish, Fundamentalist Mormons.

Then we get to rape and various forms of violence against women where, even today, women choose to not file a complaint against her rapist or abuser because the anguish she will go through because our system is unfairly tilted against her...even when the evidence of rape is incontrovertible, (or you live in a city/county/state where your rape kit ended up on a shelf with thousands of others).

Hiring, wages, benefits, bonuses, promotions. Unequal on all counts.

Car loans, mortgages, credit card interest.

Voting: what of the women who votes the way her husband tells her too? How insecure must one be to walk into a voting booth, draw the curtain and vote the way they were told to vote by their husband?

You ask why EVERYONE doesn't recognize the cruelty behind the efforts in Texas? Because, frankly, most men don't care to address the inequities women deal with on a daily basis. I'm not saying all men but I am saying a significant percentage of men simply don't give a damn. Why rock the boat if it will cause them personal loss or discomfort? Or loss? And truly, when we ask ourselves why the Equal Rights Amendment never passed, we know in our heart of hearts why. Now, go ask a family member, friend or acquaintance with a penis why the ERA never passed. I'm curious what their answers will be.

Usually I'd have citations for this kind of rant. Today I don't because I'm on my cellphone and it's nigh on impossible to flip from one screen to another. I'm sorry.

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Hi Don. Thanks for your comment. I do agree with you. I lived in the Deep South for 12 years and came to the same conclusions, generally speaking.

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Someone who gets it...

...and, I might add, it's uglier than that.

Safety first is the rule in these circumstances.

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Religious fanatics don't give a tinker's damn about what other people think and believe. Ask any Afghan woman.

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Actually they just think Trumps base will vote for them in the midterms—we’re just the caste of women— it’s really all about hold on to their mostly white male power at all costs.

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I'm not a Democrat, nor a Republican, nor any Party, and I hate to think about the Republicans (Taliban) regaining control of the U.S. Congress.

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I’m just a progressive independent

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And to keep us off message. We need to be aware

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Yes, I was initially hopeful for the "Jewish exemption" from this abortion legislation.

But quickly remembered what "Jewish Exemption" means to these people...

...extermination

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Unfortunately, this ^. I can't imagine logic derived from Judaic law will change many minds in the Christian fanatic set.

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True, because they are unreasonable. This Jewish law is so reasonable but reason seems to be no part of this issue.

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OK. So we maintain reason even in darkness. That is our strength,

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Yes, we must not abandon our reason or decide contrary to it, imo. Our reason is part of the natural law and our highest functioning ability. We shouldn't throw it out the window to accommodate religious doctrine which isn't based in science.

Unfortunately, abortion has been made a religious issue when there is no clear biological determination as to when human life begins. So, we must use our God-given reason/reasonableness to make a decision re: abortion. Each woman must do this herself because there are no clear guidelines.

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Well, fundamentalist X-tians are taught that Jews are the chosen, so you have that plus.

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No theyb will oppose it. They will say we've undermined true religion. That's OK with me because I hate them passionately, so we're now even.

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I refer to them as “Convenient Christians “. They kind of pick and choose Who, How, What,When and Where they will ‘ACT ‘ Christian. Notice they dropped the Phrase “ What would JESUS do ?”.

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Amen. What would Jesus do? If he were to show up in their midst and carry on like the Gospels say he carried on 2000 years ago, they would string him up.

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Not if he looked white

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They believe in a “Second Coming “. You’re right, they won’t know him . No matter what miracle he may choose to prove , w/out an AR-15 they will shout ‘ Imposter !’

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Have you ever read Jeff Sharlett's book The Family. The evangelicals he stayed with claimed they spoke to Jesus every day and he made all their decisions for them. If Jesus made the decision, it can't be wrong.

You are right, I don't hear the word Jesus as much but many still claim that they talk to god and god makes their decisions.

I always thought when people talk to an invisible being and hear it talk, they should be in an institution but today they become leaders of a religious sect.

We are not dealing with rational people.

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It exempt’s them from Personal Responsibility.Dealt with it first hand. I did not read that book but remember what you’re talking about.

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Yes, haven't heard that one for several years now.

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Other than the Catholics I don’t know of any organizations that will support a single woman during pregnancy. Not sure if the rule is to put up for adoption ? Or due to the fact that most, not all companies at least in Fl will fire U if they find out they are PG. No one in FL WILL hire a a woman that is PG. Liability. Married women have no support outside of Medicaid for Dr.Maybe food stamps. But loss of income is just lost.So we see families Homeless with children and a new infant. Did they stop and think perhaps these Mothers maybe have to give up at best the infant if not all their children to the system. No ! Bible in 2021 “ Suffer the little children “. Jesus would say that is wrong ! It’s Pro Birth and literally the buck stops there.Sorry so long.I’m so angry and stressed ever since TFG came down that escalator.And the War on Democracy .

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In my experience, if they are Christians, they care a great deal about religion as they perceive and twist it to suit them. They are fanatics, America version of Taliban, and that they do not have God 100-percent on their side never occurs to to them. They are ingrained with the unshakable belief that only people who believe as they believe will die and go to heaven, and everyone else will die and burn in hell forever. They are going to be really surprised when they stand before St. Peter, so so speak, but meanwhile, I can imagine a great many Texas women deeply sympathize with Afghanistan women.

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Yeah—and women generally have greater empathic powers

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"Judaism is neither pro-life nor pro-choice. It depends on the life and it depends on the choice." That is a marvelous statement, and it really fits for me, a non-Jew. Mind if I borrow it? (I might add, "Oversimplification is a symptom of ignorance.")

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If I hadn’t chosen abortion at 19 and 27 I’d have had a really strange life. Luckily I had the right to chooe them and eventually had a wonderful son and great husband. I can’t even imagine how it would be if I were forced to keep the child of a g-d rapist. And that’s the position Abbot and his cronies are forcing poor women into. Boycott Texas.

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Yes, and all women -- refuse sex until the men stand up and say Enough!

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Everyone should read caste—women have tried refusing sex protesting and there was that really angry one who cut off her husband’s penis—remember her—I think they found it though and sewed it back on. Anyway I will be in the woman caste until I die but now that the book enlightened me I’m actually more accepting of my place. There are much worse castes I could have been born into—or I could be a beautiful young woman in Afghanistan.

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Boycotting Texas reminds me of the movie, Thelma & Louise. Texas reminds me of Afghanistan.

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Hey Sloan thanks for reminding me of that movie—you don’t remind me of anyone I know but I picture you like a rabbi of Alabama

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Rabbi Horowitz's second paragraph is important.

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Excellent explanation! Thank you!

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Thank you, William, for this post. Very compelling.

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William, I think every pro-lifer should be required to read your comment every day until they agree with your or stand before St. Peter, where he reads your comment to them.

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God bless.

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I appreciate you explaining this Jewish interpretation— I have a Jewish brother-in-law and had no clue

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In late-breaking news, two things have occurred. Firstly, GoDaddy will not host the online accusation form the Right To Lifers created. They were given 24 hours to take down the site, although it had already been frozen by a shower of bogus 'tips' sent in by the public.

Better still, Planned Parenthood has won a brief respite. The District Court for Travis County granted a temporary restraining order against Texas Right to Life and its associates, stopping them from suing abortion providers and health care workers until September 17.

It's not a lot, but it's a start.

see: https://yubanet.com/usa/in-win-for-abortion-providers-texas-state-court-grants-restraining-order-against-texas-right-to-life/

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Thanks for these updates.... a foot in the door to prevent it from slamming completely.

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Gary, thank you so much for finding this and bringing it to our attention. It is so important for me to learn about each and every way that any sort of resistance can be mounted to this wild west vigilante breakdown of civil rights safeguards. There’s so much naked “might is right“ energy, and learning what successfully counters it can mobilize us.

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Gary, spot on yubanet.com Link. Travis County surrounds the City of Austin Texas.

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Thank you Heather.

After the election, I was talking to a retired Judge about how relieved I was and now we can start to get back to normal. He said " as wonderful as that sounds, it's the Supreme Court we have to worry about. I have major fears". He was 100% correct and I was 100% wrong. As I think back to our conversation, he foretold what is happening now . Frankly, to a frightening degree.

Abortion is only the guise being used, this is a flat out take over of our rights. This isn't a dramatic overview, its reality. It won't stop here.

I'm pissed. I'm sad. I'm disgusted.

Pack the courts. End the filibuster.

Be safe, be well.

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And eliminate the Electoral College.

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Totally and soon please.

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Linda, I’m re-joining my state and county Dem Party activist roster. Have you already signed-on?

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Yes Frederick, we all need to show up in every organization we can. We either use our power now or loose it.

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I have a special affinity for the local Dems. Others are fine too, like Indivisible and MoveOn. But the Dem Party is where the power, resources, contacts, are

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Yes. I have been.

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Pack the courts, end the filibuster exactly!

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Extrapolation is always dangerous, but this Court "non-ruling" has opened the door to allow states to usurp Federal authority simply by acquiescing to vigilantism. Why stop at abortion? Could not the same argument be made to allow individual citizens to interpret and enforce any law they saw fit? It literally legitimizes anarchy

Couple this with the other legislation just passed in Texas removing gun restrictions and voter suppression, and you have created a toxic brew that will lead to nothing good.

My mood grows increasingly gloomy with each passing day!

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As a teacher in Texas, first day of training we were read the house bill that limits the teaching of history. So I feel like we’re not even allowed to teach students any of these things that would educate future voters. We were limited to the documents of the original founding fathers. We were specifically not allowed to teach the 1619 project. Every student must pledge allegiance to our one republic everyday. And we have new board members that will see to it that this is adhered to. And there is a new group of population that will not have their rights infringed upon. Be it a mask or behavior their child will do as they like. These sets of laws were a turning a corner. I cannot even believe the level we’ve sunk too!

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How can you remain a teacher in Texas under those conditions?

I own that that is mostly a rhetorical question because we all have obligations in life and are in chains - golden (like a pension to be lost) or otherwise.

I am a retired teacher. To be forced to misrepresent objective truth would have figuratively brought me to my knees. Literally made me mentally unwell.

I never wanted or took the opportunity to proselytize- a teacher has supremely unfair advantage over the minds of her/his impressionable charges.

But to not have the right to teach truth is a bridge too far. I don’t think I could have continued to teach were i in your position. It would have felt like a form of abject surrender.

Let me hasten to add that this is not a recipe for professional life that I would deign to apply to any other person. Everyone’s situation is fraught and I walk only in my own shoes.

I was born contrarian. It was tested and I always held to my principles. But - and this is key - it was never tested with life-altering consequences. I have no idea if my convictions would hold then. In the delightful Texas phrase, I may be, when push really comes to shove, “all hat and no cowboy”.

I wish you well. This is a cruel situation for you.

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It’s a struggle. Understatement there. We are not allowed to unionize or strike. We have very little recourse. We are expected to take care of all societal ills. But on the flip side, what would you suggest I do? A few years from retirement that will still have me living in poverty. A job I love and kids I really care about. Walk away from it to what? There are plenty of people blaming teachers for everything from “learning loss” (not a real thing by the way) to the spread of delta variant. Teachers aren’t pulling the strings! Politicians have us wedged!

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Thank you for allowing me to see it through your eyes. I can only be thankful for how fortunate I was. Just in case you don’t know, I’m from Canada.

I was never without the protection of a strong union - in fact I got into union executive positions b/c I felt the unions were getting too powerful. But also because we were switched from a local Board negotiating with us to the Government of Ontario (province of about 13 million) bundling it all into one package and there being province wide negotiations.

The results of course were strikes and cutbacks in the form of additional teaching hours. It was a burden, but never, ever was our freedom to pursue truth in our teaching threatened.

There is always the lure of children in the end. They are very hard to turn your backs on if you are dedicated.

I would suspect that there are very few people of Denise Huddle calibre in Texas schools. How could the state possibly attract people of character and learning into such nightmarish and stifling conditions? Teaching must fast be becoming the lure of only those who are found wanting in professions where money is to be made. Even those who enter bright-eyed and bushy-tailed will soon become time servers.

And where is the respect from the public? If the government bullies you, then many parents of a certain type will see teachers as whipping boys as well.

Add to that racial animus, the remorseless surge of social media cutting children to bits at the tween and adolescent age, spineless leaders, and endless other privations and it seems to me time to rise up in righteous wrath.

I am sure you don’t run your classroom by means of scaring kids into submission. It is to weep that you are subjected to this.

Am I getting something wrong here?

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What isn’t a struggle?..

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Thank you for your posts of what is going on "in the trenches" of Texas education.

Your "group of population that will not have their rights infringed upon" sounds like a horrible batch of spoiled kids raised by spoiled kids who now believe that their little darlings can do ANYTHING THEY WANT. That is a dangerous precedent.

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We have such right here in Oregon. Two superintendents have been fired already for no real reason except far right boards. The mess in Newburg is ongoing and they have hired a lawyer to help them write their suppression of what they don't like, so that they can avoid suits. They have violated the public meeting law to do it. Stay tuned.

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We sure do. I haven't seen anything out of Newberg (The Register Guard is a shadow of its former self) but we've got shenanigans and monkeyshines here in the south end of the Willamette Valley as well.

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The Oregonian has stories on Newberg. I agree the RG has become another Gannett rag just like the SJ. Thankfully, in Salem we managed to elect a slate of progressives to the school board. We will see how it goes when school opens. Just saw a complaint about the public library not being open. It has been closed for a long time for earthquake refitting and redesign. It was supposed to open September 1st, but COVID. At least some of the responses i saw understood why this is happening. We have some restaurants in Salem requiring proof of vaccination, so people are being urged to support them while the antivaxxers (who probably wouldn't patronize either one) want to boycott them. Fine with me. We have a Proud Boy problem here in Salem associated mostly with fundamental churches, so I have long been worried about vigilantism.

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The things they think are problems! I think you haven’t had problems yet! Covid brought them very close for the first time. But now we’re back!

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Denise, Hang in there we need you. 🙏🏾🙏🏽🙏🙏🏻

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Thanks! I keep pushing kindness, integrity, compassion. But I’m afraid that school wide creed will be stricken next. These groups want their child to be able to do whatever they want without any consequences!

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Kindness, Integrity, COMPASSION!

The MALE MUST be MADE RESPONSIBLE for the impregnation of a Woman!

I have found "little" if NO Conversations or News Articles addressing the

Role of the Male. "NEWTERING, CASTRATION."...MUST be part of the

LAW, should ANY LAW addressing the Woman's impregnation.. THE BIRTH of an unwanted, or inability to care for the child BY the Male &/OR Female.

JEOPARDIZES THE LIFE OF THE UNWANTED! CHILD!

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Castrations before abortions! That’s in the running for my sign now!

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And they wonder why there’s a teacher, nurse, doctor shortage.

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Educators need Hazard Pay.

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Instead our raises just cover the increase in insurance.

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They do indeed— 🙏

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Denise, my sympathies for your position. But, as you undoubtedly know, you could teach U.S. History I using only documents from "the founders"--letters, speeches and drafts from the Constitutional Convention, newspapers and records from the state ratification debates, procedures from the first Congress that determined the legal and institutional structures of the new government, etc. There is abundant material available therein to highlight many of the subsequent themes and conflicts that we deal with to this day: the place of slavery in a "republic of liberty," the powers a government must have to operate effectively, class divisions and concentrations of wealth, regional and rural/urban divides, and so on. Of course what your school board zealots want is not to look at the complexity and conflicts of the founding, but a catechism: a short, simple list or required beliefs and practices to be repeated and obeyed, rather than questioned, compromised and amended as the "the founders" did.

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Thanks, Tom. You make an excellent point -- use all the resources from the founders, give it an appropriate title, expanding the curriculum to include complexity. Great challenge. from a retired teacher also : )

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edit: ...list of required beliefs...

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Like madrassahs, where rote learning of the Koran is a major part of the curriculum. I really like your idea of using the founders' documents to teach the complexity of statehood.

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In that Pledge, is “Liberty and Justice for All.” THAT could be a progressive mantra, IF we were smart to organize around this Pledge

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Also in that pledge is the divisive “under god” for those not aware that there are Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists & others in this nation who do not believe that mythology.

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Which was added in 1954, during the Cold War. Not part of the original writing. But definitely part of the minority rule culture.

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Absolutely with you!

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In farming psychology, the idea is to REPEAT your vision, and that is: “Liberty and Justice for All.” Liberals would say this as a moralistic vision, as if we had a moralistic basis for our policies. People usually do not vote on policies, but on the values and FEELIN G one has for a candidates. Most people appreciate the values and morals of their candidate. Like, Bernie always spoke in a moralistic manner - but NEVER clearly articulated the basis, and that would be this phrase from our moralistic underpinning, the Pledge of Allegiance. This is simply a wise manner of speaking for a progressive, to another person with whom the speaker wishes to reach

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If we really went “For All” this time!

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We WILL mean “for All.” Liberals have never turned to the Pledge of Allegiance for our moral compass. NOW it is time. I’m speaking with my state Dem Party to make this phrase THE key phrase for us.

Perhaps NEXT WEEKEND we will have a petition to enlist for now and 2022 for farmers markets across the state, from the NH border to Quebec and New Brunswick provincial boundaries.

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There’s my sign! Rights for All! No to fascism!

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Denise, is that pledge to the Texastan Republic or the United States Republic? There was a U.S. Supreme Court case in 1943 (West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette) that said students could not be forced to recite the pledge. But in the 1990s I kept seeing news reports that students who refused were being punished (until the ACLU sued to remind the fascists it was illegal). I protested saying the Pledge of Allegiance in my St. Louis high school in 1962 (taking issue with the “under god” divisive part) and there were no repercussions. Apparently, they knew of the ruling, that these backwater states do not or blatantly disregard.

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They oddly did not specify but all schools already do both pledges. It has always been my understanding that I could not force a child to stand during the Pledge. I wonder when someone is going to challenge it

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I'm just curious......who enforces that every student must recite the pledge every day? If a student just sat quietly or stood silently and was respectful, who would make a stink? Not you. The other kids? Are they teaching kids to be vigilantes in TX as well?

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Rob, This is not limited to “backwater states.” Across New Jersey, ACLU-NJ has had to fight municipal lawn sign restrictions. We all must be active and alert.

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