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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Abortion ban extremists are using a slave law to repress women

Texas is trying to ban the use of its roads by people seeking care outside the state — and even dispatching right-wing vigilante groups to chase them.

Dave Conner from Inverness, Scotland, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons


By Jim Hightower, Other Words


Here’s our big word of the day: extraterritoriality. It expresses a sketchy legal theory asserting that rulers in one state have a right to enforce their laws in another state.


Its most prominent was in the infamous Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which required officials in Northern anti-slave states to capture and return escaped slaves to their plantation “owners” in the South, thus applying Southern slave laws in Northern jurisdictions. This abomination was finally repealed in 1864.


But 160 years later, here comes another faction of right-wing zealots trying to revive the slave-law concept of extraterritoriality — this time applying it to any and all American women who dare to make their own reproductive health decisions.


I’m ashamed to say that this repressive use of the doctrine is being led by my state’s misogynistic governor, Greg Abbott, and our corrupt attorney general, Ken Paxton. These two tyrannical men have already saddled Texas women with the most draconian abortion ban in the country, including piously forbidding abortion in cases of rape and incest.


For women to exercise their inherent right to control their own bodies, they’re forced to travel to nearby states. But Texas’s brutal extremists bark that “we’ll ban that, too!” They’ve pushed a flagrantly unconstitutional scheme to outlaw the use of public roads to drive out-of-state for care. And they’ve even sanctioned right-wing vigilantes to follow suspected medical travelers to doctors beyond our borders.


And, going full-tilt totalitarian, the Abbott-Paxton posse has demanded that out-of-state-care groups hand over the names and addresses of Texas women they’ve helped outside of Texas.


Talk about government overreach! Big Brother isn’t just watching… he’s stalking you. To oppose this brutish repression — and to keep it from coming to your state — contact RewireNewsGroup.com/abortion.


OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. This op-ed was distributed by OtherWords.org.

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