The thin end of the wedge

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Meet Martha and David. They got married a year ago in a lovely little middle class ceremony. They live with her parents just outside Houston, Texas.They’re engineering students intent on starting a family as soon as they get their degrees. That was the plan, anyway. It turns out Martha is eight weeks pregnant.

After much soul-searching (and many mutually-shed tears) Martha and David decide to get an abortion. That’s not possible in Texas, of course, but Martha’s parents give them the money to fly to Wichita for a quick procedure. They do just that over a long weekend. They’re at peace with their decision.

Martha’s mother innocently mentions her daughter’s decision to her best friend. Martha’s friend mentions it to her husband who innocently mentions it to the deacon of their church, with whom he plays pinochle every Wednesday night.

Martha and David do the tough thing and they’re pleased they did. About a week after they return from Wichita they’re drifting off to sleep when a loud knock comes at their front door. Martha’s mother answers. A squad of sheriff’s deputies burst in. Martha and David are under arrest for murder. Martha’s mother and father are under arrest for accessory to murder. The doctors and nurses who performed the abortion are also indicted for murder. Fortunately, so far anyway, the state of Kansas refuses to extradite them. That extradition demand will eventually go before the Supreme Court of the United States.

After a long trial with much controversial publicity, Martha is sentenced to death. David, who was tried separately, is sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. Martha’s parents get twenty years each. They are in their sixties and will probably die in prison.

Sounds unlikely, you say? Sounds a bit like a prequel to the Handmaid’s Tale, you say? Well it could happen. Because that bit of undifferentiated protoplasm with no history, no friends, no loved ones and no self-awareness, the one that Martha had surgically from her womb, is in fact a human being. At least it could be, under a new unsmiling, unsympathetic plank in the Texas Republican political platform.

That’s right, Texas Republicans vow to declare an unborn foetus a human being, which will mean that, according to Texas law, abortion could soon be treated as a homicide. It’s called “equal protection for the preborn.” Texas Republicans are intent on making it law if they win in November.

I’m pleased to say that Martha and David are works of pure fiction, of course. But it grieves me to say that their story could happen. In fact, it grieves me to say that their story WILL in fact happen, if Texas Republicans get their way.

This is the world we live in. The world of the year 2024. It’s a world where a woman who exercises her Constitutional right of bodily autonomy, and the people around her, could soon be prosecuted for murder. And if it can happen, it will happen, if America allows itself to become a tyrannical theocracy.

This is the thin end of the wedge of a nightmare that began in November of 2016 and has continued to the present day. This is the way a 248 year old experiment in enlightened democracy could end if we let it. It’s that easy, and that terrifying. All thanks to the fact that a raving lunatic, an indicted felon, a thin-skinned, demented clown, a rapist, a murderer, a grifter, was once elected president of the United States of America. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

Important Note: Palmer Report is moving to a reader-supported format with a significantly reduced number of ads so we can reach a broader audience at this crucial time for our democracy. Support us via PayPal and GoFundMe.