Perhaps with the recent case of a Texas doctor being sued at least twice
after he said he violated the law -- and the fact that both plaintiffs have indicated they either oppose the law or are pro-choice but are trying to force a federal court to intervene -- we are seeing what allyship can look like for the most vulnerable victims of SB 8. But more should be done.
With some notable exceptions, including President Joe Biden
and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke
, there has been a dismaying lack of male allyship for women in Texas. Why are hordes of outraged men not streaming onto the streets to march alongside their daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, friends and coworkers in defense of their ability to be in charge of their own bodies?
Where are the mixed mass protests? In polls, Texans -- like Americans at large
-- are generally split
between those who identify as being pro-life and those who support a woman's right to choose. If this is the case, shouldn't nearly half the population of Texas be furiously protesting? Shouldn't half the nation?
Second, the women in Texas need to hear from US corporations. If your website features a values statement about inclusivity, how can you not be boycotting Texas right now, or at the very least making public statements denouncing SB 8 and setting up support funds for any Texas employees who might want to relocate or need to travel out of the state to obtain a safe abortion?
Some businesses, including Salesforce
, Uber, Lyft
, have stated their opposition to the new law, pledging their support for any employees impacted by it, but most large corporations have so far deafened us with their silence.
If as a company you claim to value human rights and equality and condemn discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, age, sexuality or religion, how can you stay quiet? Do you really think your shareholders and customers won't notice that you have chosen to sit on the fence on this? Do you think they won't conclude that the rest of your stated values must be meaningless, having been produced from within the same moral vacuum?
Finally, to my fellow Christians -- although the Bible has long been misappropriated by many to justify an anti-abortion stance, I am convinced that there is absolutely no religious reason to oppose abortion. But whatever your personal beliefs on this, please remember that as followers of Christ we are exhorted to love our neighbor, and to practice forgiveness.
If you do not speak out against this law, ask yourself, do you really condone punishing those who try to help a woman in need of support at what is perhaps the most difficult moment in her life, leaving her isolated and afraid? Do you condone criminalizing and possibly bankrupting the good Samaritan, the loving friend, the caring physician, the anxious partner or parent who tries to help her, all in the name of God?
Let's face the stark facts here -- God has nothing to do with SB 8. This whole debacle is about GOP strong-arming. If you want to indulge in a petty show of strength, aimed at intimidating your opponents, you choose the most vulnerable victims possible (and in American society you don't get much more vulnerable than low-income, young Black and brown women), because you already see them as not having much of a voice.
You think no one is going to step up to defend them. This is how school bullies select their victims, too. But brave Texas women
are fighting back; let's all join them. Let's not give these Republican extremists the satisfaction of looking the other way while they trample on women's rights and simultaneously line up their next targets, whomever they may be. Who knows? Maybe you will be among them.
Because beware: This kind of flagrant assault on the US Constitution may not be limited to Texas and Mississippi
for long. SB 8 hopefully won't survive the current legal challenges
against it indefinitely, but everyone should think about what this episode says about the future of our political system.
In the past year alone we've seen attacks on election results, voting rights
and women's bodies -- what's next? Vigilantism being codified
by red states to deny people their constitutional rights in other contested policy areas? And don't make the mistake of naively thinking that these Republicans will be held back by a reluctance to go against popular opinion -- 58%
of Americans do not want to see Roe v Wade overturned, yet now it is under threat.
The shock of this law going onto the statute books in Texas, even temporarily, should be a wake-up call to all Americans who still care about the sanctity of our Constitution. We can't afford to ignore the warning signs here, or we might one day discover that it is our democracy itself whose heart is no longer beating.