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If the Supreme Court upholds Texas abortion bounties, expect hilarity to ensue.

I keep trying to write about Texas and the future of Roe v. Wade, and I keep needing to rewrite my thoughts because of all the twists, turns and drama in the news cycle – not just in the Supreme Court but across the Divided States of America.

For example, you may have heard this morning that in Virginia, anti-choice candidate Glenn Youngkin won the election to be the state’s next governor. Mr. Youngkin boasts many unremarkable characteristics as a Republican male, including not just a striking resemblance to Brett Kavanaugh, but also a desire to ban library books that just so happen to feature black, minority or LGBT characters, or really any book that might help with illuminating the experiences of anyone who doesn’t look like him.

However, Mr. Youngkin did demonstrate one remarkable characteristic as an otherwise generic Republican: He barely spoke about his position that women should be stripped of their constitutional right to abortion. Way back in June, when Mr. Youngkin was speaking at far-right fundraisers, audience members asked of him why he wasn’t talking abortion. He openly said the quiet part out loud: “I’m gonna be real honest with you, the short answer is… I can’t. [It] won’t win my independent votes that I have to get.” Bro, imagine having positions so toxic that you can’t even campaign on them openly.

But that was actually pretty smart, because it just so happens that the great majority of Americans would prefer that constitutional rights such as Roe v. Wade not be overturned. And when we say a vast majority, we mean 70 to 80 per cent, according to a poll taken just one week after Texas passed its S.B. 8 abortion ban. For comparison, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the most popular celebrity in the world, with an approval rating of 83 per cent. That’s right, Roe is as popular as The Rock.

I presume it’s because most Americans actually think women are people and deserve rights, though I understand controversy still exists around this radical left-wing feminist view. I say this because despite the popularity of women’s rights and the Republican claim that they’re the party of “LAW AND ORDER!!!”, other states seem intent on following Texas’s unconstitutional behaviour. Florida and Ohio have proposed copycat abortion bans, although Ohio is at least trying to be original by being even more extreme. Whereas Texas’s S.B. 8 supposedly bans abortions after six weeks, coincidentally before women know they’re pregnant, Ohio is proposing to ban all abortion, period. South Dakota’s governor claims she’ll eventually introduce a similar proposal, and based on the composition of state legislatures, we expect 14 states will introduce S.B. 8-style abortion bans.

Now S.B. 8 is before the Supreme Court, where the justices are debating whether the Constitution still applies to women. Today is 3 November, and we’re looking at a Court where the previous President lost by 3 million votes, yet was able to appoint 3 of his own justices, or one-third of the Court. Coincidentally, one-third of all the male justices have a history of allegations around sexual assault and abuse. And one of those justices, Clarence Thomas, has now served for 30 years and is the longest-serving justice on the entire Court. It makes you wonder what Anita Hill thinks about that. And it makes me wonder what American women think of a Court full of far-right sexual predators debating the rights women should have.

Plenty of pundits have pointed out how clever Texas’s abortion ban, S.B. 8, is. Everyone’s heard of outsourcing, right? We always hear about how outsourcing is annoying, how it hurts American families, how it results in bad service and generally makes American customers more irritated than a Karen who sees Black Americans being Black in public (or Black at Starbucks).

Well, Texas looked at all that and decided outsourcing was a good idea anyway. The way that S.B. 8 works is that its authors know that a traditional abortion ban, enforced by state officials, would be too blatantly illegal, similar to Mark Zuckerberg claiming he has a right to profit from hate speech. To avoid being instantly blocked by courts, Texas designed S.B. 8 so rather than officials enforcing the ban, enforcement is outsourced to private citizens, who can earn $10,000 for suing Texans that they suspect of involvement with abortion, even if the person suing doesn’t live in Texas.

Yeah, you can make jokes all day about how Texas conservatives are so obsessed with government intruding in their lives that they hired private citizens to intrude for them. However, that’s low-hanging fruit. After all, this is the same Texas that wants to force schools to teach “both sides” of the Holocaust, to avoid being too critical of white supremacy.

Let’s examine the implications of a Texas victory in the Supreme Court. Suppose the U.S. Supreme Court upholds S.B. 8. Some of the implications are more obvious, like Roe becoming effectively meaningless, red states passing identical bans, and abortion increasing in blue states as abortion refugees travel there for their procedures. But what are the less obvious implications for Americans outside the 25 per cent of women who have abortions by age 45?

Let’s start with the pro-life party’s favourite American right of all: Guns for killing. If the Supreme Court upholds the legality of bounty hunters against abortion, then the result would be a legal framework for… bounty hunters against gun owners. Under that framework, a state could pass a law where you can sue someone suspected of owning a gun or helping a neighbour to own a gun, and if you win, you get $10,000, plus your legal fees. After all, the state isn’t technically banning gun ownership. The state is just hiring citizens to intimidate gun owners, that’s all.

This isn’t a pure hypothetical. The justices explicitly asked the Texas Solicitor if he could think of any reason states couldn’t enact similar laws against guns if S.B. 8 were upheld, and he was forced to admit yeah, it was possible. The justices even pointed out that by his logic, states could pass laws allowing bounty hunters against free speech or religion too. Imagine a “democratic” nation where people can sue people for saying something negative about our national treasure, Dwayne Johnson, or a country where people can sue people they suspect of promoting Rastafarianism.

These may sound like silly examples, but with the track record of the GOP, we can expect that a victory for S.B. 8 would encourage, say, Missouri to legalise bounty hunters to sue people suspected of criticising Rush Limbaugh, the Nazi sympathiser who defended white supremacists in Charlottesville but is considered such a hero to Missouri lawmakers that they have a statue of him in the capitol. We could also expect to see states legalising bounty hunters against Americans suspected of being Muslim, though I suppose I should stop giving ideas to Trump if he runs in 2024.

For these reasons, one would expect an impartial Supreme Court to rule against blatant undermining of the Constitution and overturn S.B. 8. However, we know the Supreme Court isn’t impartial, so none can accurately predict how the justices will rule on this case. We know from the 2014 Hobby Lobby case that the Supreme Court allows laws that legalise discrimination against women and LGBT people. Thanks to Google, I’m old enough to remember 1966’s Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, where a South Carolina restaurant claimed it had a religious right to discriminate against Black customers. The courts told South Carolina to bugger off then. Today’s Supreme Court refuses to extend the same protection to women or LGBT Americans, thanks to “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

Where does that leave Americans who can’t count on the Constitution or the courts to reliably protect them anymore? We have no magic bullets in our arsenal, only one mainstay: The right to vote. Anybody who cares about constitutional rights already knows why voting matters, and thanks to Google, I’m able to recall some choice words to remind you of what voting meant to past generations

“Give us the ballot and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights.

“Give us the ballot and we will fill our legislative halls with men of good will.

“Give us the ballot and we will place judges on the benches… who will do justly and love mercy.”

The January insurrection shocked a nation. It didn’t shock prochoice advocates.

For outside observers, the attempt to overturn American democracy on 6 January might come as an eye-opening surprise. But for anyone who’s paid attention to the news or cracked open a newspaper, it was the natural conclusion to the decades-long mainstreaming of American extremism and its normalisation of both violent rhetoric and violent action. Its contempt for reality and basic facts is built on a bedrock of lies, conspiracy theories, and threats of terror against its political opponents.

But long before lies, conspiracies and terrorism came together in that very public January attempt to overturn a democratic election, American extremists honed their playbook for successful violence and politics through the anti-choice movement. Long before American extremists weaponised lies and alternative facts to delegitimise everything from vaccines to facemasks to election results, they devoted years to perfecting their strategies and terrorism through their anti-choice attacks on women’s rights.

I’m not talking about the fact that so many anti-choice leaders and convicted terrorists participated in the January insurrection. Everyone’s already heard the jokes about how anti-choice superstar Abby Johnson spoke at the Capitol insurrection, before later turning around and claiming it was organised by antifa once she realised the legal consequences. You likely wouldn’t be surprised if you knew convicted clinic bomber John Brockhoeft also participated in the insurrection, just months after shaking hands with anti-choice leaders in Ohio – the same leaders who claim their movement opposes violence. Let’s face it, picking on these idiots is low-hanging fruit.

Nor am I talking about the role of the anti-choice movement in providing the blueprint for radicalising half of America to oppose not just abortion but masks, medical experts, and democracy itself. Sure, we know that decades of demonising medicine and government alike laid the groundwork for American conservatives to believe the pandemic is a myth and masks are a socialist plot. From there, we saw the anti-choice playbook redeployed in service of radicalising Americans, through lies and conspiracy theories, to believe coastal elites are using vaccines and antifa to secretly declare war on white people, take away their guns, and steal an election.

But as we think back to the armed militias and white supremacists who stormed the Capitol, waving Confederate flags that 400,000 Union soldiers gave their lives to keep out of Washington for 160 years, one may believe the anti-choice movement’s playbook of radicalisation and terrorism gave birth to the racist militias that stormed the Capitol.

That is not correct. Racist militias were the ones that gave birth to the modern anti-choice movement. The movement did not recruit militias to turn its violent rhetoric into violent action. Militias birthed the modern anti-choice movement through their paranoia that Jews and immigrants would soon supplant America’s white Christian identity.

In the 1980s, white extremists like the KKK began developing wanted posters for abortion providers, publicising their personal details and encouraging their assassination. The anti-choice movement quickly adopted and popularised this tactic. As multiple abortion providers died as a result, militias like the White Aryan Resistance organised rallies in support of the killers, claiming such killings “protected Aryan women and children”. When Operation Rescue popularised the use of protests to threaten and intimidate patients and providers alike, it recruited enthusiastic protesters from white nationalist groups like the American Front.

Perhaps today’s anti-choice movement knows that associating with the same violent militants that it claims to denounce is a bad look. If so, the movement hasn’t shown much evidence that it’s ashamed. Cheryl Sullenger was convicted in 1987 of attempting to bomb a clinic on the West Coast. She now serves as Operation Rescue’s senior vice president. Previously she served as senior policy analyst, where she provided information that assisted Scott Roeder in his assassination of Dr George Tiller. Most recently, anti-choice extremists like Derrick Evans have begun openly deploying the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia opposed to racial equality, to provide armed “protection” for anti-choice extremists.

The anti-choice movement has devoted half a century to perfecting its playbook for radicalising violent rhetoric into radical violence. Because most of its victims have been marginalised women and the medical professionals trying to help them, society has been able to ignore the anti-choice movement’s escalation from attacking women to defying democracy itself. Police and even presidents sneered at the concerns of prochoice advocates who warned that far-right radicals were fuelling anti-choice terrorism and anti-government militias alike. In January, we saw how our failure to acknowledge those canaries in the coal mine led to an attempt by armed white supremacists to overthrow our democracy.

On 20 January, Joe Biden became the first President to acknowledge white supremacy in his inaugural address, promising to tackle it with the full force of his federal government. But our fight against American extremism will outlast Joe’s presidency. The forces that literally overran our democracy have had half a century to mainstream themselves from the fringes into the White House itself. For prochoice advocates, their work has become more than fighting for reproductive rights. It is now about protecting our nation.

Kavanaugh for SCOTUS: So how fucked are we?

Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, and Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to take his place on the Supreme Court. This isn’t a small deal — despite being personally right-leaning, Kennedy has tended to be the moderate swing vote for some of the more contentious cases that have come before the court. (Abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action have all had his signature on them.) In replacing him with Kavanaugh, Trump nails down a solid conservative majority to enshrine his agenda into law and gives us our first-ever Supreme Court Justice Brett. So what does that mean for us?

Ten people didn’t die in Santa Fe because a girl “spurned” a boy

Last week’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, didn’t happen because a girl “spurned” Dimitrios Pagourtzis. It didn’t happen because she “humiliated” him or “embarrassed” him in front of the class. It was neither “sparked” nor “provoked.” The headline is not that a girl rejected him. The headline is that Pagourtzis harassed her for four months before going on his killing spree.

The “redistribution of sex” is rape

The redistribution of sex is rape.

That’s because sex isn’t a commodity. Even commercial sex isn’t a commodity. Sex, of both the amateur and the professional variety, is an activity performed by people, and the only way to “redistribute” it is to compel someone to perform it when they otherwise wouldn’t. And compelling a person to perform sex when they don’t want to is…

Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s reproductive rights

Women aren’t stupid. (I mean, on average.) Over time, we’ve begun to vote, work, sign for our own credit cards, and helm blockbuster movies and society hasn’t collapsed under the weight of our unfettered ignorance. Certainly, given accurate information to work with, we’re capable of making decisions about our own bodies. We’re capable of deciding if we want to have kids, when we want to have kids, and how many kids we want to have. And that is precisely why so many groups lie their little asses off when the subject of reproductive health arises: because they want to be the ones making the decisions.

Her blog post throbbed with the disdain of a woman who’d never contemplated her own breasts

I walked into the room with a confidence that would have been alluring on a more attractive woman but, unrelentingly average as I am, could only be read as arrogance. My oversized tank top skimmed over breast-shaped breasts, hiding feminine curves that still have to be mentioned even though you couldn’t even see them. I wore tight pants that said “workout,” stretched over a generous ass that said “work me out,” and he might have been tempted to take me up on my unmistakable offer had I not been, tragically, in my late thirties. Above my neck, there were other body parts.

Quick Hit: Nontoxic masculinity

Much like markers, masculinity comes in the toxic and the nontoxic kind. (Pointing out that fact is enough to enrage some guys into a lather.) At KatyKatiKate, Katie explains the concept, symptoms, and dangers of toxic masculinity. And she provides real-life and fictional examples of the non-toxic variety, ranging from the strong and physically imposing to the artistic and less imposing.