Judge Pitman saves pregnant Texans--for now.
Well, for a change some great news, especially for pregnant Texans who don’t want to be. Tonight Judge Robert Pitman, the first openly gay judge to sit on a federal court in the ultra-conservative Fifth Ciruit, issued a temporary order halting the enforcement of SB8, the Texas law which bans almost all abortions after six weeks. Raped by a stranger at gunpoint, raped on a date, raped by your husband, father, uncle, brother--and pregnant? Too bad, said the lawmakers. Too bad, said five members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The federal judiciary is packed with right-wing bummers, so it’s a joy to this retired lawyer that some law-abiding people like Judge Pitman are still on the bench. In his 113-page order, he wrote, “A person’s right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability is well established.” Okay, we knew that. He went on, “Fully aware that depriving its citizens of this right by direct state action would be flagrantly unconstitutional, the State contrived an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme to do just that.” In short, Texas legislators diabolically–“flagrant” comes from “flaming”–conspired to trash settled constitutional law. And then my favorite sentence, “This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right.” Will the Fifth Circuit rush to reimpose this offensive law? Stay tuned.
Since SB8 went into effect on September 1st, hundreds of pregnant Texans have had to travel many hundreds of miles to neighboring states to get an abortion. The cost has risen from about $350 to over $2,000 in some cases. And that’s for someone who has the money. Texas doesn’t pay for abortions for poor women. Poor and pregnant? Too bad. The state leadership is so revolting that its Attorney General, a creep named Ken Paxton, actually touted SB8 as a good thing for business because it’s “stimulating . . . interstate travel.”
Where is all this headed, you may ask. It’s headed to the creeps dominating our highest court, that’s where. The best hope for pregnant people in the 22 states on track to restrict abortions pretty much out of existence is the movement to expand access to safe, effective abortion pills. More on this soon.