America and the world continue to follow with apprehension the events in the southern emirate of Texas where the relentless advance of religious fundamentalism has dealt another serious blow to the principles of representative democracy.
Still dramatic the situation at Dallas International Airport where, earlier this week, hordes of women, in various stages of pregnancy, overwhelmed the containment barriers and poured onto the tarmac in an attempt to reach the last flights departing from the city.
There is a critical situation also on the southern border where large groups of refugees continue their desperate southbound march in an attempt to reach the emergency camps made available by the Mexican government.
If, on the one hand, the agonizing developments of these last hours had been widely anticipated, the alacrity and fanatical fervor with which Governor Abbott and his mujahideen imposed their obscurantist vision of religion surprised a large part of the international community.
The lightning-fast offensive unleashed to circumvent the legal constraints of the Roe v Wade ruling is a direct consequence of the recent transformation of the role of the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) from a constitutional review body to an organ of ideological ratification of the Republican Party (SCROTUS).
For those still unaware of the details, the new Sharia law imposed by the Texan zealots moves up the legal term for an abortion from the twenty-fourth to the sixth week of pregnancy, a period when most women do not even know they are pregnant.
Interviewed in an undisclosed cave near Abottabad, Governor Abbott said: “It is time for men to take back the responsibility for protecting women from themselves. This law represents a step in that direction. Ultimately, we believe that life does not begin at the end of gestation and not even at the moment of conception but at the first appearance of an erection”.
The truly revolutionary aspect of the law is the stratagem invented by Abbott and his Supreme Council for the Promulgation of the Faith to circumvent the Constitution.
In 1973 with Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court granted American women the right to terminate their pregnancy and since the ruling has federal validity, it cannot be directly ignored by the states, not even those like Texas, whose theocratic tendencies aim at eliminating the separation between church and state altogether. For this reason, in the event that state officials decide to pass and enforce a law that contradicts federal legislation (as in this case), they become liable to lawsuits and litigation from Washington.
To avoid this problem, the Texan mujahideen have completely exempted state officials from enforcing the law, delegating the task instead to ordinary citizens.
Texas, in other words, has established a police-state in which anyone “aiding” (definition purposely vague…) abortion beyond the sixth week of gestation becomes prosecutable under the law. Furthermore, the punishment is not limited only to doctors and other medical personnel willing to perform the procedure, but it extends to friends and relatives aware of the “criminal intent” of the woman involved, to the non-medical staff of health facilities and even to taxi drivers who could transport the people involved in the “crime”.
This transformation of the entire population into a mob of potential informers is not only authorized by the law but incentivized. Any individual who suspects direct or indirect involvement of family members, friends, neighbors or simple acquaintances in an abortion has the right to report it to the courts and sue the interested parties, obtaining a damage compensation of ten thousand dollars in case of a successful outcome or the complete reimbursement of their legal costs in the event that the accusation turns out to be unfounded.
The accused, on the other hand, are not entitled to any reimbursement of their legal costs even in the event that they are able to prove their innocence.
This important clause is part of the usual, fascist modus operandi of the Texan emirate and of the entire American Conservative Caliphate always ready to punish the less affluent and most vulnerable social groups.
It’s obvious of course, that this crackdown on abortion will have its most devastating effects only on the less well-off who, unable to afford the cost of a plane ticket to go to another state to legally terminate their pregnancy, will be forced to resort to the resurgent black market of illegal medical practices– just like in the good old days (Make America Great Again!).
The Texan mujahideen therefore managed to create a regime of police repression that would have been the envy of the East German Stasi. But, in perfect Far West style, they also added a pinch of local tradition with the transformation of their citizenry into a posse of bounty hunters.
Every day, from every corner of America, we witness the shocking conservative revolt against the health measures to contain the pandemic. A revolt that is expressed in terms of the “intolerable government interference” by those on the right, to the freedom and self-determination of the individual.
This skepticism towards the most elementary standards of public health protection is the cause of the nation’s mediocre immunization levels which, in turn, contribute to the continuous transmission of the virus and its persistent mutation into increasingly virulent and dangerous genetic strains.
The result is that the disastrous consequences of this conservative ideological fundamentalism are not confined to its devoted followers but endanger the whole of society.
The new legislation on abortion passed by the Texan emirate, on the other hand, represents perhaps the most sensational example of state interference into one of the most intimate and sacrosanct rights of women: the right to their reproductive choices and to the self-determination of their own future.
But while dozens of other republican-led states are preparing to imitate the Texan repressive measures, this monumental and hypocritical contradiction does not seem to affect the pious certainties of the imams of the American right, especially considering that the women’s right to self-determination, unlike the choices of the no-vax crowd, are strictly personal and do not affect any other member of society.
But wait a moment! Anti-abortionists could point out that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is not really a choice that concerns only the woman.
And what about the fetus? After all, the opposition to abortion’s central commandment consists in a religious belief (and therefore indisputable in its fideistic irrationality) that a human being is to be considered such from the initial moment of conception.
If that’s the case, as an alternative to the paternalistic system of repression that they have just enacted, Governor Abbott and the rest of his Taliban could choose to financially support pregnant women who cannot afford to bring their pregnancy to term, or support a child by allowing them to carry out gestations and give the newborn up for adoption, if they so wish, to one of the thousands of couples who cannot have children.
But, as we know, any financial aid to the poor is an anathema that goes against the dogma of conservative fundamentalism whose guiding ideas remain clear: even in matters of public health and prevention, the right opposes any government interference in the personal choices of their citizens, except for the reproductive decisions of women which, of course, belong to the government.