Logistical Nightmare

Let’s say I could use an easy $10,000, so I decide to head to Texas and find me a woman in her seventh week of pregnancy getting an abortion so I can sue her provider and get my 10 grand, because I imagine she has harmed me and I thus am entitled to the money. I have a couple questions about this, however.

I haven’t read up on my new Texas law — there are so many of them, frequently so punitive — so maybe there’s something in there to ensure that us “bounty hunters” from outside the state aren’t eligible to compete for all this abortion money. And I’d need to know up front where this bounty is coming from. Is the state going to pay me? That seems a lot more reliable than waiting on the young woman who was getting the abortion, who maybe might possibly not have a spare $10,000 lying around to give to me, no matter how much a court orders it.

And who all can I sue from this one incident? Can I get a lot of $10,000 awards? One from the woman, another from her health-care provider, maybe her sister who is going with her? Let’s not forget the Lyft driver who drove her to the clinic. That’s a good place to go, because the driver’s company has said it will cover all his legal fees. Maybe that includes the bounty I’m entitled to.

I don’t hear much about the man who impregnated this woman in here, but no matter. As long as we go after these women and those who aid her, that should suffice.

In case you missed it, the Texas governor signed into law last week a whole new way of looking at abortion. It more or less says a woman cannot abort a fetus after six weeks of pregnancy, no exceptions. But the state isn’t going to prosecute these women, because that would be — for now — unconstitutional. Instead, it provides a way forward for people like me to sue, with a $10,000 outcome provided for.

For the moment, let’s leave abortion out of this, because I know it’s a touchy subject that people hold strong views on. Let’s pretend, instead, for purposes of this discussion, that Texas had passed this same law, only it forbade men from getting vasectomies. After all, if a woman’s womb is sacrosanct, shouldn’t a man’s scrotum be part and parcel of the package (so to speak)?

So let’s say I wanted to pick up $10,000 by ratting out a Texas man getting a vasectomy. I’m still not quite sure how to go about this. It starts with Planned Parenthood, obviously, as all evil things do.

[Here are some of the evil things on offer at Planned Parenthood clinics (not all clinics offer the same services): Abortion. Vasectomy. Birth control. Emergency contraception. General health care, including screenings for anemia, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. Routine physical exams. Vaccinations for flu and covid. HIV services. LGBTQ services. Pregnancy testing, childbirth classes, postpartum exams. STD testing and vaccines. Basic health services for both women and men. Referrals for an assortment of issues including adoption and rape.]

So I head to a Planned Parenthood clinic and — then what? I probably need to hover outside taking before and after shots of every man who enters, probably noting the license plates of the cars they arrive in. I don’t know if the cars they leave in count as “aiding and abetting,” since the vasectomy has already taken place, but I might as well note those too. Just to be safe.

But other than presenting a video to the court showing a man walking normally into the clinic in a pair of sweatpants and then walking rather painfully out, how do I come up with my evidence? Maybe the better bet is to become a Lyft driver near the clinic, and hope that my passengers are free with their information. “Hey, I need a ride to Planned Parenthood so I can get a vasectomy.” Got that guy!

But I’m worried that other passengers might be more circumspect, you know, like only giving me their destination and not their reason for going there, feeling somehow like it’s their business and not that of some random stranger. I could try cajoling them into telling me, but somewhere in here we might have issues of entrapment.

Maybe I could get a job inside Planned Parenthood. I could be the receptionist, and when someone says, “I’m here for my vasectomy” I’ll nail him. But what if he says he’s just here for his appointment? Or he says it’s for a vasectomy but doesn’t specify whether he’s in his sixth week or seventh?

Is it just me, or do all of these options sound creepy and rather invasive? I’m sure there are plenty of people for whom creepy and invasive is not an issue — this law got passed, after all — but I’m still not sure I see an easy path to what I thought might be quick riches.

Of course, we’re not talking about vasectomies, we’re talking about abortion, and a law that carves out zero exceptions for women who have been raped. Never fear, little ladies: the governor of Texas is here to take care of you.

He told women they would not have to worry about this as a possibility, because the state is going to round up every last one of its rapists. This actually came out of his mouth yesterday during a press conference: “Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them.”

He noted that rape is a crime, like this is a new thing and he’s suddenly on a mission when there was no purpose before. But if we’re going to assure all the little women in Texas that no abortions will be required on account of rape, doesn’t it follow that we need to catch the rapists before the act?

So now, because I know a would-be rapist when I see one, perhaps I’ll turn to turning these men in. I don’t think they’ll bring me the same $10,000 award, but I’m sure there’s something to the personal satisfaction I’ll have from ridding the streets of a horrible criminal before his crime is committed.

I imagine I won’t have to look in any white neighborhoods for these rapists, and I’m pretty sure none of them would be fathers, stepfathers or husbands. And since nearly all, like maybe a third, of rapes get reported, and something less than that get prosecuted, and even less result in convictions, I’m not so sure I see this as a problem for Texas women to fret their little minds about. We will catch every one of these rapists before they commit their foul deed, and our evidence in court can simply be, “I could sense the evil in him.”

It seems I have a busy day ahead of me, out looking for both abortion scofflaws and rapists. Unless, of course, there’s really nothing in it for me after all.

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