From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Takes Aim at LGBTQ+ Rights While Urging Reversal of Roe
Date September 19, 2021 12:05 AM
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[ "Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated,
religious-driven values on all of us through the courts."]
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ARCHITECT OF TEXAS ABORTION BAN TAKES AIM AT LGBTQ+ RIGHTS WHILE
URGING REVERSAL OF ROE  
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Jessica Corbett
September 18, 2021
Common Dreams
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_ "Make no mistake, the goal is to force extreme, outdated,
religious-driven values on all of us through the courts." _

Demonstrator join the second annual Women's March in New York City on
January 20, 2018., Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

 

ADVOCATES FOR REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM and LGTBQ+ equality on Saturday
pointed to a legal brief filed in a U.S. Supreme Court case that could
soon overturn _Roe v. Wade_
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example of the broader goals of those fighting to end abortion rights
across the United States.

"ALL anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice views stem from the same desire to
control bodies."
—Zack Ford, Alliance for Justice

"It's never just been about fetuses. It's about controlling sex,"
tweeted
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Muhlenberg College assistant professor Jacqueline Antonovich, a
historian of health and medicine.

Both Antonovich and Elie Mystal, _The Nation_’s justice
correspondent, responded to a portion of the brief flagged
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York University School of Law professor Melissa Murray that challenges
previous rulings from the country's highest court on not only abortion
but also LGBTQ+ rights.

"Of course" the so-called "right to life" movement is also coming
after cases that established key LGBTQ+ protections, said
[[link removed]] Mystal,
"because it's never about 'life' and always about 'Christian
fundamentalism.'"

The amicus brief
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(pdf) that Murray highlighted—co-authored by the architect of a new
abortion ban
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in Texas—urges reversing _Roe_, the landmark 1973 ruling that
affirmed the constitutional right to pre-viability abortions, and the
related 1992 case _Planned Parenthood v. Casey_
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The brief also takes aim at _Lawrence v. Texas_
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overturned homophobic state sodomy laws, and the 2015 equal marriage
case _Obergefell v. Hodges_
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that the court should not "hesitate to write an opinion that leaves
those decisions hanging by a thread. _Lawrence and Obergefell_, while
far less hazardous to human life, are just as lawless as _Roe_."

Zack Ford of the progressive group Alliance for Justice said
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that "this is hardly surprising. Conservatives know they've got the
Supreme Court in the palm of their hands and they'll ask for anything
and everything, including the return of sodomy laws. Remember, ALL
anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice views stem from the same desire to control
bodies."

The alarm over the brief—submitted
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for _Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization_, a case
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about a Mississippi abortion ban
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that the high court is set to hear this term—came exactly one year
after the death
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of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In the wake of Ginsburg's death, then-President Donald Trump nominated
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and the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate swiftly confirmed
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Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's third appointee to the
court—creating a supermajority
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of six right-wing justices.

The high court's majority sparked concerns about how justices will
rule in the Mississippi case by letting
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a contested
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Texas law take effect earlier this month. Just one piece of a historic
GOP assault
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on reproductive rights this year, Texas' Senate Bill 8 not only bans
abortion at six weeks but also empowers
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anti-choice vigilantes to enforce it—which, as the U.S. Justice
Department explained
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in its lawsuit challenging the measure, is an "unprecedented scheme"
intended to make it harder to strike down in court.

The legal mind behind S.B. 8, Jonathan Mitchell, "has spent the last
seven years honing a largely below-the-radar strategy of writing laws
deliberately devised to make it much more difficult for the judicial
system—particularly the Supreme Court—to thwart them," according
to
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_The New York Times_.

A former Texas solicitor general and clerk to the late Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia, Mitchell also co-authored the legal brief
attacking _Lawrence_ and _Obergefell_. His brief for the group Texas
Right to Life—just one of several anti-choice filings submitted
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to the high court in late July—also states that "women can 'control
their reproductive lives' without access to abortion; they can do so
by refraining from sexual intercourse.'"

As _The Guardian_ reports
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the brief adds that "one can imagine a scenario in which a woman has
chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual
intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to
her later. But when this court announces the overruling of _Roe_, that
individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court's
decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted
pregnancy."

While the Biden administration is taking on
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S.B. 8 in court and on Friday announced
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another series of actions intended to assist abortion seekers and
providers in Texas, both the new ban and mounting concerns about the
Mississippi case have provoked calls
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for the Democrat-controlled Congress to immediately expand the U.S.
Supreme Court and codifying _Roe_.

Although congressional progressives in April introduced
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the Judiciary Act of 2021 (H.R. 2584
[[link removed]]/S. 1141
[[link removed]]),
which would add four more justices to the Supreme Court, the measure
has not advanced and its low co-sponsor numbers suggest that will not
change during this session.

As for lawmakers reaffirming abortion rights nationwide, the U.S.
House is set to vote
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on the Women's Health Protection Act (H.R. 3755
[[link removed]]/S. 1975
[[link removed]]) later
this month. However, unless the evenly divided Senate abolishes the
filibuster
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it is unlikely to reach President Joe Biden.

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