The Republican Taliban?

It would be a misstatement to say that Republican males hate women.  They don’t hate us, but they also don’t see us as equals, either physically, intellectually, or culturally.  We are, it would appear, put on this earth for their pleasure, to meet all their needs – sexually, taking care of their homes, cooking their meals, etc.  Sadly, they have convinced many Republican women that this is the case, and those women dutifully, as Loretta Lynn once sang, Stand By Your Man.  Thus, the majority of Republicans are trying in this, the 21st century, to return women to their ‘place’ as they were in the last century and before.  When we speak of “women’s rights”, Republicans roll their eyes as if we were ignorant children and completely ignore the laws that have given us such rights as equality in the workplace, the right to vote, to own property, divorce our husbands, and the rights to make our own healthcare decisions, just as men do.  We women would be well-advised to stock up on clothes hangers before they ban those, too!

Joyce Vance of Substack, has written of the latest decision by a Texas judge to further strip us of our rights, and she does so far better than I could …

No More Mifepristone

Joyce Vance

08 April 2023

On the Friday before Easter, just after the end of the work week in Texas, a federal judge in Amarillo decided that Mifepristone, one of two key drugs used for medicated abortion, should be banned. This despite 20 years of data showing it’s safe and effective. Mifepristone has a lower rate of complications than Tylenol.

The judge also entered a stay, which means his order won’t go into effect for seven days. He did it to give the government an opportunity to appeal. But if neither the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, deeply conservative after a tranche of Trump appointments, nor the Supreme Court orders a lengthier extension, legal access to Mifepristone will come to an end. Not just in Texas, but nationwide.

The government didn’t need seven days. It filed its appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals a few hours after the decision.

DOJ was prepared to file immediately because they understood the inevitable ruling in this case. Judge Kacsmaryk, who the plaintiffs judge-shopped for by filing this case in the Amarillo division where virtually all cases are assigned to him, has a background of deep antagonism to letting pregnant people make their own decisions. Kacsmaryk’s legal ruling affects the entire country, not just Texas. A federal district judge in Washington state entered a ruling ordering the FDA to keep Mifepristone on the market, just moments after the Texas ruling.  But Kacsmaryk  entered a nationwide injunction that rescinds the FDA’s approval of Mifepristone nationwide—even in states where abortion is still legal and without exception for the mother’s health.

That’s not the legal landscape the Supreme Court said it was creating when it ended 50 years of abortion rights under Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs case. When the Court decided Dobbs, it said decisions about whether and under what circumstances abortion should be legal would be left up to each state. But now, Judge Kacsmaryk has made that decision for all of us—you and me, for our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends, regardless of medical necessity or our personal religious and moral beliefs. Judge Kacsmaryk knows best.

Challenged legal rulings are typically stayed to preserve the status quo while appeals work their way through the courts. But the post-Trump, uber-conservative Supreme Court has always had a different jurisprudence when it comes to abortion, permitting restrictive measures like Texas’s SB-8 vigilante justice law to go into effect while the appeal was pending. Nothing says “result-oriented” like special rules for anti-abortion litigants (to say nothing of reversing the long-standing precedent of Roe that had worked well to balance rights and did not meet the Court’s test for when precedent should be reversed). It’s tempting to think the Court might decide the Mifepristone decision is a bridge too far, if not based on legal principles and the expectations it set when it decided Dobbs, then out of purely pragmatic political considerations some of Justice Clarence Thomas’s billionaire friends might want to see in order to avoid steep Republican losses at the polls following yet another anti-abortion decision. But it’s difficult to imagine this Court walking it back so close to its goal of extinguishing abortion rights. DOJ has strong arguments to make on appeal—compelling ones on threshold issues like whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring this case, as well as on the merits. Whether the Court will give them a fair hearing is an entirely different matter.

Soon, we’ll find out if the Court meant it when it said abortion would be up to the states. Or, can one judge in Texas resurrect the long-disfavored Comstock Act and terminate people’s rights across America. The Act is an 1873 law that makes it illegal to advertise or mail anything, including information, related to preventing contraception or producing abortion (as well as outlawing sending “obscene, lewd or lascivious,” “immoral,” or “indecent” publications). The Comstock Act fell into disuse because of its effect on 1st Amendment rights—it involves prior restraint by the government on speech. The prohibition on materials and items related to contraception was removed after the Supreme Court’s 1965 decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, which held that Connecticut’s “mini-Comstock” law unconstitutionally invaded the privacy rights of married couples. Be concerned about where a resuscitation of this law could lead.

Restricting abortion today does not seem to be about good faith conservative values and protecting the sanctity of life. It’s hard to believe that a party that denies access to basic medical care and education, and that lets school kids die at the hands of mass shooters in the name of the Second Amendment is deeply committed to unborn children, unless it’s become somehow morally righteous to protect them only until they leave the womb. Ending abortion is a political rallying cry, used to bring voters to the polls and raise money, with a healthy side-effect of owning uppity liberal women.

It’s really not that difficult. If you’re against abortion, don’t get one. We live in a pluralistic society and there are religions other than conservative Christianity, for instance Judaism, that command their followers to protect the life of a mother over that of an unborn fetus. Somehow, their rights are now ignored, while a minority that has gained control of the Supreme Court dictates to the rest of us.

Interestingly, banning Mifepristone isn’t just part of the trend to make abortion less available, it’s also part of the trend to make it less safe and to endanger women’s lives. I spoke with Jesanna Cooper, a friend and a doctor in Birmingham, who is an experienced Ob-Gyn. She told me, “the take home is that without mifepristone more people will hemorrhage and/or get septic from incomplete expulsion of the products of conception.” Using Misoprostol, the other drug used in a medication abortion procedure, alone is “less effective,” she told me. It involves the “same amount of pain but [is] more likely to be incomplete, which can be dangerous.” It doesn’t sound very pro-life.

More information about the two drugs, if you want to read some of the science, here.

In 1996, then-Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder (D-CO), tried to convince the House to take the Comstock Act off the books. They didn’t. But her floor speech has resonance today. She explained that the Act was named for a man named Anthony Comstock, who “was one of these people who decided only he knew what was virtuous and right, and somehow he managed to convince all sorts of people that this was correct.” That sounds familiar.

She continued, “Anthony Comstock was a religious fanatic who spent his life in a personal crusade for moral purity–as defined, of course, by himself. This crusade resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of a multitude of Americans whose only crime was to exercise their constitutional right of free speech in ways that offended Anthony Comstock. Women seemed to particularly offend Anthony Comstock, most particularly women who believed in the right to plan their families through the use of contraceptives, or in the right of women to engage in discussions and debate about matters involving sexuality, including contraception and abortion.” We don’t need a new Anthony Comstock and we don’t need Judge Kacsmaryk to dictate the health care—or absence of it—to people across the country.

You know what the solution is: go vote. Democrats will need sufficient majorities in both houses of Congress to restore protections for abortion. It’s not enough to win the House or the Senate, Democrats must take both to ensure access to abortion, and 2024 is not that far off.

We’re in this together,


Joyce Vance is an American lawyer who served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2009 to 2017. She was one of the first five U.S. Attorneys, and the first female U.S. Attorney, nominated by President Barack Obama.

Our good friend Annie also has an excellent take on this that I hope you’ll take time to read.

22 thoughts on “The Republican Taliban?

  1. I am well past the age of child-bearing, as are my children My grandchildren are a different story, and although I don’t expect any of them to desire an abortion, that option MUST be available to them in case there are complications.

    But above and beyond my family … EVERY WOMAN should be in control over her own body and NO MAN should be able to usurp that control. I almost get violently ill when I consider the consequences of not only this MAN’s actions, but also that there are WOMEN who support it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As am I, my friend, but it matters not our age or circumstances … this is a fight for ALL women … me, you, our daughters, granddaughters, neighbors, strangers … ALL women. Because, if they win this one, what’s next? This isn’t about babies … we have enough of those, and the Republicans don’t give a royal shit about anybody’s babies. This is about “owning” the “weaker sex”. Remember how hard women fought for the right to vote? Might be gone soon if we don’t fight hard enough now. The right to equal pay in the workplace? The right to divorce our husband? The right to own property? This is only the beginning, my friend … only the beginning. The harder we fight now, the fewer battles we’ll have to face, or our daughters and granddaughters will have to face, in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, you know me ~ as a poet I steer myself toward the apolitical just as, as a raiser of public awareness, you steer yourself toward the political. But one look at that opening cartoon and I was LOL until DOA 😆😂🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, suppressing rights, choices and avenues to managing your life, especially if female, is not a recipe for expansion. The Republicans are shooting our country and themselves in the foot. Of course, with more guns and hidden carry permits, it is easier to do even without bad decisions.

    Americans will find a way. When foreign markets would not allow American drug companies to charge R&D to their constituents, they charged extra to Americans. Still do. This is a key reason the Canadian and Australian drug mail-order markets opened up (you could be a product at 1/2 to 1/5 of the cost from abroad). If American women are denied a product or service they need, they will also find away. This includes Republican women.

    Democrats are far from perfect, but the Republicans have been walking down a path that is unproductive and harmful to too many, even those who look like the restrictors. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think when you say they are shooting both our country and themselves in the foot, you are dead on accurate. Enough women … most of us who haven’t been turned into ‘Stepford Wives’, are angry enough over their attempts to take away our rights, to stifle our voices, to FORCE us to their will, that I think they will find out next year just what a big mistake they are making. White, male, Christian, wealthy … those seem to be the ONLY things that matter to the Republican Party today. I hope their lesson is painful and long-lasting! Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, when a group sells itself on creating fear to deny or restrict rights of others, it is simply unwise, especially when 1/2 the population is included in the restrictions. The message of you can’t govern your own body, you can’t read that, you can’t protest, you can’t teach that, you can’t vote, etc. are not good salesmanship. When the party says “you can’t do something” it has a dearth of ideas. We should not forget the GOP has not voted on a platform since 2016, seven years ago. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Exactly! Fully half or slightly more of the population are women and we’re well-versed in having to fight for our rights … been doing it for centuries now! They don’t know who they’ve taken on here, but they’re about to find out! Agreed on the GOP platform, or rather lack thereof — that alone should tell people they don’t have any ideas, but plan to only oppose the ideas of the other party. THAT is their platform — opposition and retaliation.


    • Awful song. Apologia for every single soul which has turned its back on truth and decency because it was held up to them as loyalty to do so. And any more, you have to do that just to keep your job.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Agreed … I hated the song … first, because it was way too country for me, and second because of it’s meaning. Rather like the song “Wives and Lovers” by Jack Jones … makes me growl every time I hear it!

        “… Hey! Little Girl
        Comb your hair, fix your makeup
        Soon he will open the door
        Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
        You needn’t try anymore
        … For wives should always be lovers too
        Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
        I’m warning you
        … Day after day
        There are girls at the office
        And men will always be men
        Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
        You may not see him again
        … For wives should always be lovers too
        Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
        He’s almost here
        … Hey! Little girl
        Better wear something pretty
        Something you’d wear to go to the city and
        Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
        Time to get ready for love
        Time to get ready
        Time to get ready for love”


    • It is scary and getting closer to reality every damn day.

      AAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH … I could kick myself! My bad … thanks for clarifying! I hated it too, but it fit the purpose in this post, even if I did get the singer wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

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