Courtesy Claudio Schwarz via Unsplash

A tyrannical and heavy-handed government — the very kind that the state’s so-called patriots claim to loathe — is steamrolling into place in Texas.

A new abortion law that went into effect Sept. 1 is the latest mind-boggling move by the state’s ongoing and embarrassing right-wing palooza.

The abortion law is being called the most restrictive in the nation and it amounts to a unilateral overthrow of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in 1973.


SB 8 prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. That’s about the same time an ultrasound can detect what the state says is a fetal heartbeat. An estimated 85% of the state’s abortions are done after six weeks, according to published reports.

Under the law, no exceptions are permitted for pregnancies involving rape or incest. Some medical exceptions, however, are allowed.

One of the most draconian aspects of the law is its enforcement.

Citizens — not the government — can sue abortion providers and anyone who has helped someone get an abortion in violation of the law. The minimum amount for financial damages is $10,000 per defendant along with attorney’s fees and other costs. There is no apparent cap on the amount of damages someone can seek.

And the civil suits can be filed regardless of whether the person suing has any direct connection to the abortion.

Are abortions a great thing? Absolutely not. Many women feel helpless when faced with the difficult decision, advocacy groups say, and many others are devastated after having the procedure, but it is a personal decision and one that should be made between a woman and her doctor, without interference from the state and its lynch mobs of busybodies.

Actions that claim to be done out of love but have a spite-filled core aren’t so great, either.

The Stasi-like methods to gather such information smack of organized, state-sanctioned stalking, which, by the way, is also supposed to be illegal.

Here’s one way it will be accomplished.

On the Texas Right to Life online portal, vigilantes can fill out a questionnaire to help the state “plug you into the best way you can enforce the law and hold the abortion industry accountable.”

Another tab on the website invites the public to “help enforce the Texas Heartbeat Act” by sending in anonymous tips with zero accountability.

“We will not follow up with or contact you,” the website states.

Turning in your neighbors or family members and launching court cases in an attempt to collect a bounty is not a show of freedom. It’s destroying someone’s life.

Texas abortion providers made an emergency appeal to try to stop the law from going through, but the U.S. Supreme Court did not act on the appeal this week.

What we’re left with is a power grab that also amounts to a case of the rich oppressing people of color and those who are economically disadvantaged.

“The harm this law will cause will be insurmountable for far too many Texans, particularly Black, Latino, Indigenous people, those with low incomes, and Texans in rural areas who already face significant barriers to care,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a recent statement.

Some providers began closing their doors days or weeks before the law went into effect.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden also expressed his opposition to SB 8, saying, “My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right.”

He did not elaborate on how it might be defended.

Kim Schwartz, media and communication director for the anti-abortion organization Texas Right to Life, said she believes they will prevail.

“The Texas Heartbeat Act is the strongest pro-life legislation to pass the Texas Legislature since Roe v. Wade,” she told the Texas Tribune. “This is a huge victory and could save thousands upon thousands of preborn babies. We look forward to the day that it’s going to be enforced — hopefully very soon.”

Freedom and limited government are always great talking points for so-called patriots unless, of course, the grinding of axes gets in the way.

Influenced by a playbook created by Dear Leader, The Former Guy, we’ve seen the other fruits of these types of oh-so-Godly labors. An attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., injured dozens and was related to five deaths. Those who carried out the attack called it patriotism.

In Texas, other shows of force taken by the state include an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott that prevents schools from making local decisions to enforce face masks. That has also led to a flurry of state and federal lawsuits, not to mention confusion and chaos for many schools, teachers, and families who are concerned about COVID-19.

A Texas House Committee on Monday began discussions on the issue of mask mandates, KEYE-TV in Austin reported. One bill would ban schools from requiring masks while another would allow the practice.

Meanwhile, weeks into the school year, we’ve seen some campuses in North Texas temporarily close due to rising numbers of COVID cases that health experts say are being driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

Children too young to receive the vaccine have been hit especially hard.

The Fort Worth school district has reported 900 cases among its 80,000 students. There are currently 723 active cases, and most of them are at elementary schools, where many children are under the minimum age of 12 for the COVID-19 vaccine, KXAS-TV reported.

Texas has failed miserably in protecting its young people.

In the interest of fairness, citizens should be allowed to sue anyone from the state who has aided and abetted in the severe illness or death of a child for a minimum $10,000 — with no cap.

Whether it’s a failed power grid or an also-new open carry gun law, Texas seems to have a lot of hypocritical ideas when it comes to safety and protecting lives.

In August, Abbott issued a statement about the state’s COVID policies, saying he “has been clear that we must rely on personal responsibility, not government mandates. Every Texan has a right to choose for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, or get vaccinated.”

That’s quite a concept, letting people decide for themselves.

Here in Texas, it’s a concept that just doesn’t apply to abortions.

This column reflects the opinions of the editorial board and not necessarily the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Submissions will be edited for factuality and clarity.