The anti-abortion zealots are losing their minds

Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the US Supreme Court, various states have passed draconian laws to prevent abortions, and women seeking them have gone to other states where it is legal, most recently the case of Kate Cox in Texas. As a result, the anti-abortion people are advocating for ever more bizarre measures to prevent them.

A string of Texas localities have passed controversial ordinances banning so-called “abortion trafficking” – and another city may soon join their number.

Over the last several weeks, the city of Amarillo, Texas, has become embroiled in a debate over whether to pass an ordinance to block people from using the city’s roads to transport pregnant people seeking abortions in other states. The city council will meet on Tuesday to debate the measure. It is not expected to vote.

This type of ordinance has sprung up as part of a new anti-abortion tactic to undermine people’s ability to flee states with abortion bans. Since the fall of Roe v Wade, abortion foes have scrambled to find a way to cut off what they see as “abortion trafficking,” even though many experts argue that the US constitution protects the right to interstate travel.

What next? Imprisoning all pregnant women until they give birth to make absolutely sure that they cannot get an abortion?

The anti-abortion forces are fighting an unpopular war since most people favor at least some right to abortions, that it should be allowed with certain limitations. Roe v. Wade struck a tenuous balance on abortion rights that seemed to come close to where public opinion lay,. Overturning it has resulted in some people thinking that they can have a complete ban.

Moves such as this travel ban will only serve to reinforce the idea that the anti-abortion forces are unhinged extremists.


  1. garnetstar says

    This seems pretty performative, in that, how can they tell if people just driving down the road are going to get abortions? Even when crossing the state border, how can they tell who’s going for an abortion and who’s just travelling?

    Lots of room here for vicious, performative, punitive, arrests, for sure. Maybe even if you’re not black.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    As the kooks reveal they are, in fact, kooks they will become more impopular. So will the politicians who have enabled them for forty years.
    The lying senators and congressmen who pretend this is a state issue should be held to account.

  3. Robbo says

    texas. sigh.

    I am reminded of a joke. Substitute “texas/texan” for “England/Englishman”
    Three people, a Welshman, a Scotsman and an Englishman, are walking along together when they come across a genie.
    The genie offers them three wishes.

    The Scotsman goes first, saying, “I want a wall across the Scottish/English border to stop the English from coming into my beautiful country!”

    The genie grants his wish and the Scotsman disappears.

    The Englishman goes next, saying, “I want a wall to surround England to keep everyone from invading my proud country!”

    The genie grants his wish and he, too, disappears.

    The Welshman asks the genie to tell him about the wall. The genie replies, “it’s 200 metres tall and surrounds all of England.” The Welshman asks if it blocks off the coast too and the genie nods.

    The Welshman then says, “fill it with water.”

  4. says

    The anti-abortion zealots are losing their minds

    Just nit-picking, but I’d say they lost their minds a long time ago.

    One thing that bothers me about all of this is that the media refuse to call out the fact that, ultimately, the anti-abortion argument is a religious argument. When you dig deep enough, you always find that the argument rests on the idea of “the human soul”. The idea that such a thing as a “soul” exists and that it enters a human egg cell at the moment of fertilization is a strictly religious argument as there is no evidence of such. Thus, the main question of the so-called “abortion debate” is really, “Do we wish to live by the teachings of a particular religion?” Seeing that the US Constitution specifically forbids religious tests for office and does not refer to a Christian god at any place, it would be impossible to present a coherent and cogent argument in favor of that idea. Of course, the zealots believe this is a “Christian nation” in spite of evidence to the contrary so they see no contradiction.

  5. raven says

    This seems pretty performative, in that, how can they tell if people just driving down the road are going to get abortions?

    In their warped minds, women, pregnant or not, are guilty until proven innocent.

    In actual practice, they will only catch a few out of tens of thousands of women traveling out of state for abortions.
    They may be ratted out by ex-boy friends, husbands, fundie neighbors, or even their own families.
    The ones they catch will of course, be poor and nonwhite.
    They will use these women as warnings to other women not to travel out of state for abortions.

    It won’t work but it will make most of them more careful.

  6. John Morales says

    More to the point, they don’t need to be caught in the act; they can be charged after the fact.

    So what if it boils down to punishment instead of prevention? Still a chilling effect, as raven noted.

  7. Jazzlet says

    Does the USA have a strategic national road network? In the UK some roads are managed by local Transport Authorities, others by the National* Highways, the latter are known as the Strategic Roads Network. The National Highways wouldn’t take it well if a local Transport Authority messed with a road designated as part of the SRN.

    * The name lies, as it only covers England excluding London, there are other agencies for Scotland and Wales.

  8. raven says

    US women are being jailed for having miscarriages
    11th November 2021, 04:40 PST

    By Robin Levinson-King BBC News
    Brittney Poolaw was sentenced to four years in prison
    When a 21-year-old Native American woman from Oklahoma was convicted of manslaughter after having a miscarriage, people were outraged. But she was not alone.

    Brittney Poolaw was just about four months pregnant when she lost her baby in the hospital in January 2020.

    This October, she was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison for the first-degree manslaughter of her unborn son.

    When she arrived at hospital seeking treatment, Poolaw admitted to using illicit drugs while pregnant.

    Later, the medical examiner’s report, obtained by the BBC, found traces of methamphetamine in her unborn son’s liver and brain.

    The examiner did not determine a cause of death for the foetus, noting genetic anomaly, placenta abruption or maternal methamphetamine use could have been contributing factors.

    The Red States in the USA are already sending pregnant women to prison for miscarrying. Miscarriage is common with about 50% of all pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

    This case in Oklahoma is particularly an outrageous abortion of justice.
    1. This woman is a nonwhite minority, Native American.
    2. “When she arrived at hospital seeking treatment, Poolaw admitted to using illicit drugs while pregnant.”
    She was naive or not very bright.
    Never admit anything like that in the ER when you could be charged with something like manslaughter. It can and will be used against you.
    IIRC, in some of these cases, the ER staff themselves called the cops.
    HIPAA won’t stop the police from getting your medical records.
    3. There is really no evidence that maternal methamphetamine use can cause miscarriages anyway.

    Doctors say methamphetamine use does not cause miscarriages
    KGOU | By Hannah France
    Published January 26, 2022 at 5:00 AM CST

    The number of criminal charges brought against people for using drugs during their pregnancies is rising in Oklahoma; a trend doctors say is rooted in a misunderstanding of how drug use affects pregnancy.
    In Oklahoma, a person can be charged with felony child neglect for using drugs while pregnant. In cases like Brittney Poolaw’s, a person can be charged with manslaughter if they have a miscarriage and the fetal remains test postive for drugs like methamphetamine.

    In Poolaw’s case, prosecutors claimed her use of methamphetamine during her pregnancy contributed to her miscarriage. However, many doctors agree this claim is not based in science.

    “There is actually no biological reason that methamphetamine should cause a pregnancy loss,” said Dr. Harvey Kliman from the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. “There’s no mechanism for that medication to even affect a pregnancy.”

    Kliman studies the placenta’s role in infertility, pregnancy complications, and loss.

    He said methamphetamine use affects the brain but not the placenta, which he describes as the root system of the fetus and an essential part of pregnancy.

    “There’s nothing that methamphetamines actually even do that affects the placental function. Transport of things, blood flow into the placenta, nothing,” Kliman said.

    Additionally, Kliman said methamphetamines and similar compounds are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, but there has been no increase in miscarriages related to people who take those medications while pregnant.

    I still wouldn’t recommend taking methamphetamine during pregnancy.

    AFAICT though, alcohol especially and tobacco are far worse for pregnant women. Fetal alcohol syndromes are way too common.

  9. lanir says

    @Jazzlet: US roads can be paid for by the city, county* (especially in rural areas -- a county can have several towns in it but they don’t necessarily cover the entire area), state, or national government. The national highways are the interstate system. The road in front of your house or apartment are going to be city or county roads. You can cross state lines using county or state roads but a lot of long distance travel will involve an interstate.

    The issue here won’t be the city messing with the actual roads. It will be a matter of just how deeply they get to dig into your privacy juse because you choose to drive to your destination. A destination which is entirely out of their reach. For clarity this is roughly equivalent to the city council deciding to voyeur their way into your bedroom if you meet and have sex with someone in another state.

  10. beholder says

    @1 garnetstar

    how can they tell if people just driving down the road are going to get abortions?

    With mass surveillance. If someone’s carrying a cell phone they’re not literally advertising their intent to the police, but their all-purpose spyware device is essentially telling on them and providing an extensive electronic paper trail to that effect.

  11. Jazzlet says

    lanir @10
    Thank you, I didn’t think who managed the roads would actually make a difference because most people don’t live on Interstates -- can you even do that? In the UK you certainly couldn’t have a driveway onto a motorway but you can onto an A road, I do as it happens, and some of the Strategic Road Network is A road, though most A roads aren’t part of the SRN. Honestly it was pure curiousity!

  12. SailorStar says

    The USA is more and more resembling Romania under the Ceausescu regime in regard to women and women’s bodies. Ceausescu was executed in 1989, but before that, he left behind countless human beings warehoused in the most appalling conditions, permanently damaged.

  13. says

    Same with the anti-trans arguments. The media pretends they are secular, but when you really analyze them it always boils down to the belief that human bodies are “designed” to fit into two neat categories, and that the Designer wants society organized such that people’s rights are dependent on which category the fall into. It’s why they are totally on-board with cis people getting “gender affirming” healthcare, and even want to force intersex people to transition, but they aren’t willing to allow trans people to get the exact same medicine.

  14. lanir says

    Jazzlet @ 12:
    US interstate highways have ramps to get on them and they’re usually two lanes going one direction, a median, and another two lanes going in the other direction. Things can be weird where they start or end but otherwise you’ll only get on or off of them via a ramp and nothing else will connect to them without a ramp. Where they cross other roads an overpass is built for them. You aren’t supposed to take a walk along interstates or park on the shoulder. But you won’t have problems doing so if you have car trouble as long as you’re not in traffic. You can get a reasonable idea of what they look like using search terms “us interstate ramp”. Remove “ramp” if you’d rather see maps of where they are.

    You can use google maps and street view if you’re curious about anything else. They’re all the roads that have a number on top of a blue shield icon with a white band and red top.

  15. xohjoh2n says


    Yeah, we call those “motorways” in the UK. “ramps” we call “sliproads”. Those happen at “junctions” which are the only places you can get on or off the motorway, usually providing 4 sliproads, on and off in each direction. Interchanges between motorways get weirder… Designated motorways (which is not just actual motorways, but also the fairly rare M-rated A-road -- most A-roads are just normal roads) are barred to slow moving traffic such as cyclists, horses and pedestrians. If you break down, then you try to get onto the hard shoulder and stop, if you can. Those have periodic free emergency phones to use which you can carefully walk to, predating and if you don’t have a mobile. If you can’t do that you stop and stay in the fucking car and put your “hazards” on (both direction indicators flashing simultaneously and constantly) and either call the police on your mobile or hope one of the regular police patrols spots you before someone whacks you in the arse.

  16. brightmoon says

    Basically they are imprisoning pregnant women in some states by forbidding them either the ability to travel out of state to get an abortion or by allowing legal abuse of people who help them with financial ruin .

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