Texas Thought Crime
Regardless of your views on abortion, any sane person should regard the Texas law creating civil liability for performing, or aiding and abetting an abortion as insanity. I have never seen anything like what I am about to describe, and it is truly the closest actual “thought crime” I have seen. You can read the Texas statute HERE.
The relevant provision is § 171.208(a) of the law, which is really the heart of the statute. The provision has three subparagraphs imposing civil liability on those who do the following:
- performing an abortion.
- aiding and abetting the performing of an abortion. Thus, driving someone to where the abortion is done could make one liable.
- anyone who “intends to engage in the conduct described by Subdivision (1) or (2).”
It’s that last one that has me freaking out. It’s flat out thought crime. If you, at any time, form an intention to help someone get an abortion you are liable, regardless of whether you actually do it, regardless of whether an abortion ever happens or not. Just thinking that you would do it is enough. Further, effectively everyone in the country is “deputized” to enforce this thought crime by allowing them to sue for it.
This very different from a conspiracy where one must plan with another to commit an offense, and take at least one action in furtherance of the conspiracy. You need actually do nothing under this statute but think that you will drive someone to get an abortion, or think that you would pay for someone’s abortion.
That’s sufficient. That’s insane. Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States endorsed this insanity and allowed it to continue. That’s insane.
There’s other crazy stuff too, some arguably worse in its practical effects, but this one is just so ridiculous I decided it was worthy of its own discussion.