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One of the more popular "reports" posted to Texas' Right to Life snitch site by stalwart patriots

Woo-(ah)/Yeah Yeah Yeah: Online Hipsters and Other Sentient Beings Are Busy Reporting "Abortion Tips" to Texas Bigots

Abby Zimet

Damn: Texas. Our condolences to anyone who lives there and knows who Molly Ivins and Ann Richards are, especially after last week when the state officially became a "vigilante bounty hunter death cult." Exhibit A: Texas now leads the nation in child COVID deaths - 59 a few days ago - having amassed over 50,000 student cases and over a dozen closed schools in a couple of weeks thanks to an anti-mask-vaccine-or-anything-else-life-saving GOP governor who's flagrantly "abandoned his duties." Exhibit B: Of course, the new Texas anti-abortion bill, an unholy authoritarian nightmare devised by old white misogynists who probably don't know where a uterus is but feel entitled to make dystopian rules about it and its owner anyway. Still, take heart, if you have any left: John Lewis' steadfast Good Trouble is coming for them. For starters, Fox News, GOP pols, and other right-wing progenitors of the Texas madness have remained strangely silent on their supposed triumph, maybe because even their wee little brains understand it's legally tenuous, it appears to remove one of their key red-meat issues from their lunatic agenda, and it comes in a foreign-to-them country that's repeatedly proclaimed itself about 70% pro-choice. Among the few crackpots who spoke up were Ronny Jackson, who thanked Trump's fascist judges - Furious responses: "What is your big plan to take care of these children when they are born?... A curse on you...Once a slave state always a slave state" - and Ted Cruz, god love him 'cuz god knows nobody else will, who issued a statement he was “proud” Texas was “leading the charge to defend life” and “Without life, there is no liberty,” which makes as much sense as the mind-boggling fact this slimy moron is in a position to make statements about anything.

Meanwhile, resistance has cropped up on multiple fronts. In a narrow legal victory on Friday, Planned Parenthood won a temporary restraining order against Texas Right to Life, blocking them from suing them and other abortion providers in the state because, a judge ruled, the new law creates "a probable, irreparable and imminent injury" to providers and patients. The suit by Planned Parenthood, which argued anti-abortion activists "are already staking out our health centers, surveilling our providers, and threatening our patients," is one of at least a dozen that have already been filed in Texas courts. The economics of the law isn't looking good either. A Boycott Texas movement is underway. Given the egregiously snitchy terms of the law, which could render liable even the Lyft driver who gives a ride to a desperate pregnant woman, both Lyft and Uber have announced Driver Legal Defense Funds to cover any legal fees for those ensnared. Lyft also said it would donate $1 million to Planned Parenthood "to help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access," adding the law is "incompatible with people's basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines (and) the spirit of rideshare." And GoDaddy, which was hosting the Texas Right to Life bigots' website, abruptly gave them 24 hours to find a new provider, charging they'd violated "multiple provisions" of their terms of service, most vitally those involving gross invasions of privacy. While it has its own tipline for abuses of the rules, GoDaddy also has a history of not suffering douchebags gladly; it previously took down white nationalist Richard Spencer's Altright.com and other neo-Nazi sites.

Mostly, we, the people, have rebelled against the Texas atrocity, often in unlikely places. In a withering letter to the WSJ, pastor David Barnhart notes, "the unborn are a convenient group of people to advocate for...They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or poor; they don't (need) money, education, or childcare...and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn." In a fiery online exchange, an 18-year-old Hispanic college freshman "sick of white men in Texas trying to de-legitimize (the) struggle of women, especially women of color” took down an idiot Texas Senate wannabe who called her "an uniformed (sic) liberal that would murder a child," correcting his factual errors and adding, "Worry about your research, not about my uterus." Most brilliantly, TikTokers and other savvy, angry trolls - "I don't think these anti-abortion people realize the Internet isn't their space; it's ours" - took to the Web after right-to-lifers began recruiting snitches with a “whistleblower” website, complete with merch intoning, "Save the Tiny Texans" and "Silence In the Face of Evil Is Itself Evil." "Right On!" declared a gazillion online wiseacres, who had at it with denial of service attacks, tech tips to shut them down, and a script by TikToker Sean Black that automatically feeds fake reports into their site, which by now may have crashed given he and other trolls were sending one about every 10 seconds until he figured out how to leave it running overnight - "Huh." Also, women of a certain age began taking their phone to the bathroom to "report" each time - "May not sound like much but us old ladies are in there all the damn time!" - and the inestimable Mrs. Betty Bowers ordered, "It is imperative that you report suspicious abortion activity to this hotline," and Jessica Valenti mused, "It would be a shame if they were inundated with, say, detailed information about your last period."

And so it began. Asked for their dastardly report, source, county - often Gilead - and "photo evidence," many dutifully filled out the form with creative variations of, "Go fuck yourself." There were photos of Shrek, Garfield, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, clown shoes, parking tickets, police brutality reports, the first three grafs of the Wikipedia entry for "cheese"; excerpts from Ace Ventura, The Bee Movie, The Godfather - "An abortion, Michael, just like our marriage!" - The Joker: "Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City"; song lyrics - "I said certified freak/7 days a week...I'm never gonna let you down...Girl, you make me feel real good." People reported an uneven haircut, "this fucker down the street who keeps stealing my Capri Sun straws," Ted Cruz leaving his dog to freeze when he went to Cancun, Greg Abbott getting an abortion behind Chili's - "I know because I am the baby" - a co-worker stealing their lunch bag - "O.K. so Iast Thursday I was at work..." - a "drive-by abortioning" on West 7th Street - "If you see something, say something" - Goody Smythe consorting with demons and spitting on Bibles - "The Lord brought this to me in a dream" - a neighbor who was pregnant for 12 hours and the next day she had 2 10-year-old boys "but I know time is linear and moves slowly so that cannot be true." Some narratives nicely rambled: "My neighbor is the family of pale people who live in the woods...This strange man Jimothy Sparrowcake was buying a coat hanger at my local Ross Dress For Less...My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid...I've seen my neighbor detach herself at the waist late at night, and I suspect she may be using her tongue to perform abortions by drinking unborn babies like milkshakes. Please. Do. Something." And finally: "A fundamentalist cult is attempting to enforce theocracy in a nation whose founders expressly articulated a separation of church and state. (They have) even established a website to spy on citizens who it deems 'violate' their medieval belief system." Crazy, right?

"That was very true, he thought. There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orothodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account." - George Orwell in 1984. From one patriot, "At least try and be original authoritarians, Texas."


Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. 

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