Friday, November 01, 2013

Meanwhile, in Texas*

The new anti-abortion laws can take effect right away:

A federal appeals court issued a ruling Thursday reinstating most of Texas' controversial new abortions restrictions, just three days after a federal judge ruled they were unconstitutional. 
A panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit challenging the restrictions moves forward. The panel issued the ruling after District Judge Lee Yeakel said the provision serves no medical purpose.
The panel's decision means as least 12 clinics won't be able to perform the procedure starting as soon as Friday. In its 20-page ruling, it acknowledged that the provision "may increase the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions."
How does a doctor get admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in Texas?  I couldn't find this by Googling, but my impression is that the doctor must do hospital medicine to get those privileges.  Is that a necessary medical prerequisite for working in abortion clinics?

I doubt that, and so I doubt this part of the ruling:

However, the panel said that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that having "the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate" a law that serves a valid purpose, "one not designed to strike at the right itself."

Everything about the forced birth movement is aimed at striking at the right itself.  The right here would be the right to have an abortion.

Texas is a fun state to live in as a woman or as a member of ethnic or racial minorities, because of that voter ID thingy.  

I think the law was created (as in other Republican-dominated places) to reduce the number of voters who might vote for Democrats, especially the number of poorer voters and the number of people of color.  But the Texas version of the law also affects married women who don't have their names on the ID in exactly the correct form:

In 2012 a federal court struck down Texas' ID law, ruling it would potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority voters.
But that federal decision was invalidated when the Supreme Court last year ruled part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. So now Texas is test-driving its voter ID law — one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation.
Texas judges are accustomed to a certain level of respect, even deference as they go about their daily business in the Lone Star State. So imagine Judge Sandra Watts' surprise when she went to cast her vote last week and was told there was a problem.
"What I have used for voter registration and identification for the last 52 years was not sufficient yesterday when I went to vote," Watts says.
Why? Because Watts' name on her driver's license lists her maiden name as her middle name. But on the state voting rolls, her given middle name is there, and that's difference enough to cause a problem.
"This is the first time I have ever had a problem voting," she says. "And so why would I want to vote provisional ballot when I've been voting regular ballot for the last 49 years?"
Watts stomped out of her polling place and called the local Corpus Christi TV station KIII. Her voting problems became the lead story that night.
The original Justice Department concern with Texas' voter ID law involved its discriminatory effect on the state's poor and minority voters. In 2012 a federal court ruled it unconstitutional on that basis, but that ruling was itself invalidated last year when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act. And with that, Texas' voter ID law was back from the dead. So it's come as a surprise how, in practice, the law has also been a problem for Texas women.

Note, also that a concealed-carry permit is a valid ID but a student ID is not!  Given that the former group tends to vote Republican and the latter group Democratic, one is astonished by such a chance correlation between what is allowed and what is not allowed!

Nah.  Given that all this is intended, is the problem caused by the patrilocal marriage custom which ends up giving married women multiple names part and parcel of the same attempt to make voting harder for some groups?

I'm not sure, because married women are actually pretty likely to vote Republican.  On the other hand, many Texas politicians would love to get rid of all female voters.  So judge for yerselves.
*The "meanwhile" series on my blog is about places where not-so-good anti-woman things are happening.  You can search for topics in it by using the "meanwhile" word.