A lot of out-of-the-box ideas float around in this country, harmful seeds destined for the ears of sympathetic lawmakers.
And given the divided state of our nation at the moment, there’s a decent chance that even the most worthy could pass for the law.
Below, I’ve highlighted a handful of these stinkers, in this case imagined by abortion opponents, and given a leg up by the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v.
Among the most odious of these ideas is what advocates call “long-arm jurisdiction,” which suggests going after not only abortion providers in the state with fines and jail time, but also women who travel from a state to another to obtain legal abortions and anyone. who provides these women with support or services, including transportation.
The National Right to Life Committee has posted a model law on its website that would expand penalties beyond illegal abortion to “aiding or facilitating an illegal abortion” and prosecuting people who provide “instructions for telephone, internet or any other means”. of communication.”
Texas law now authorizes any resident of that state to spy on anyone suspected of conspiring to obtain an abortion in a state where the procedure is legal to report them and collect a $10,000 reward.
Not so long ago, any such baldly anti-democratic and anti-American measure would have had zero chance of becoming law.
But as we all know, the political landscape has changed recently. On the rise now are the mouth-to-my-ears-of-God zealots and people at all levels of state and federal government whom the zealots enslave for sympathy or the muscle of their votes.
More worryingly, they have the ear of the Supreme Court.
In such an environment anything can happen.
Chelsey Youman, the Texas state director and national legislative counsel for Human Coalition Action, an anti-abortion organization that aims to implement new laws across the country, recently spoke about the connection between vigilantes and abortion rights. abortion
Instead of the state regulating abortion providers, he said, “You and I, as citizens of Texas or this country or wherever we can pass this bill, can sue the abortion provider. .. We have legislation ready to be implemented for every state you care about. live to protect life regardless of the Supreme Court, regardless of their circuit court.”
The supreme irony is that the same people who so consistently insist on states’ rights are suddenly eager to enforce their laws on other states that don’t share their views. Did I miss something? Didn’t they ask that each state be allowed to make its own laws?
This should concern every thinking American.
It’s worth a moment’s time to consider the Pandora’s Box this proposed legislation would open.
Imagine two adjacent states, State A, where the purchase and use of marijuana is legal, and State B, where it is not. One day, a resident of state B crosses state lines to state A to buy pot and smokes it there. When he returns to his own state, someone catches a whiff of weed on him, reports it, and collects a reward for doing so.
The next day, the police show up at his door to take him to jail.
“Yes sir, you are right, marijuana is legal there and illegal here. But look, there’s a new law that allows us to arrest you for traveling to another state and buying cannabis and smoking it there,” says the arresting officer. “Hands behind your back.”
A state patrol in State B learns that a resident of State B has been observed by a road camera going 50 miles per hour on a road in State A, where the similarly classified road, of fact, it sets the limit at 50 miles per hour not the 40 miles per hour of State B. .
“I know sir, it’s 50 miles an hour over there, but it’s 40 over here. License and registration, please.”
A possible future is being shaped here. And the question we must all ask ourselves at this critical moment is: what kind of nation do we want ourselves and our children to live in?
As for me, I want nothing to do with what now lights up the eyes of fanatics.
Robert Whale can be reached at email@example.com.