Texas’ draconian new abortion law is pretty insane, not to mention a bold move. State lawmakers and Governor Greg Abbott were very proud of outlawing the medical practice after six weeks, meaning that a lot of women won’t even know that they’re pregnant (because there are a lot of non-pregnancy related reasons why a period is two weeks late) before it’s too late for an appointment. The law also allows any private citizen to go into vigilante mode and sue anyone who helps a woman secure an abortion (that includes clinic staff and anyone who gives a woman a ride to a clinic). Rape exceptions are now nonexistent with Abbott declaring (while signing the bill in a room full of white dudes) that that problem is easily solved because he’s simply gonna jail all rapists.
The Daily Show determined to reflect upon how the law is already impacting women, so Desi Lydic visited with Nancy Northup of The Center for Reproductive Rights to ask the bluntest of questions (and to rate the law on the “f*cked-up meter”). The answers that Desi received are sobering ones:
Desi: “Exactly how f*cked up on the f*cked-up meter is this law? Are we talking, like, this f*cked up?”
Nancy: “It is preventing about 85% of abortion patients being able to get access in the state of Texas. By creating a legal scheme that has been very hard to challenge, in court. It’s outrageous.”
Desi: “That is pretty f*cked up.”
Nancy: “It is a massive violation of constitutional rights, yes.”
The pair went further, discussing how Texas has protected itself from lawsuits by enacting a law that’s designed to not be criminally enforced, so it can’t be challenged in court on whether it violates the U.S. Constitution. Instead, it turns Texas residents into “vigilantes” to the tune of claiming a $10,000 bounty. Desi assessed the situation: “An unconstitutional law that can’t be ruled unconstitutional? Genius.”
So, who’s the main mastermind behind this constitution-circumventing legislation? As the Washington Post revealed a few weeks ago (on who “paved the way” for this Texas law), that would be Mark Lee Dickson (a director of Right to Life of East Texas), whose arsenal of lawyers guided him through getting the law passed. Yes, he speaks on camera. He’s perfectly comfortable with the “private enforcement mechanism” that is designed to evade the constitution. When Desi inquires whether he’s trying to take abortion back to the Wild West days, his answer is as follows:
“Everyone loves Batman, right? No one’s complaining about having a costumed vigilante known as Batman getting the job done. And so, why are people against private citizens to get the job done.”
And Desi had a voiceover comeback that nailed it: “Explaining comic books to women while also restricting their rights. This guy must be getting laid, 24/7.” As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared of Abbott’s own stance, the governor spoke from “such a place of deep ignorance” that he clearly didn’t understand how the female anatomy functions. One might also make the same assumption of a guy making a Batman analogy about abortion, too.