Home / General / The Texas GOP’s loving tribute to Nicolae Ceauşescu

The Texas GOP’s loving tribute to Nicolae Ceauşescu

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Jill Filipovic points out perhaps the most obvious historical antecedent for the Fugitive Uterus Act:

What’s so galling about this law, though, is how unprecedented and invasive it is. It harkens back to some of the worst eras of authoritarianism and paranoia in modern history, when citizens were encouraged by their governments to spy and snitch on their family members, friends and neighbours. It’s the kind of state-sponsored civilian surveillance we associate with the Stasi, China’s cultural revolution and Soviet Russia.

More acutely, it harkens back to dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu’s Romania. Ceauşescu banned both abortion and contraception, and engaged a broad network of secret police called the Securitate who, like Texas’s lawmakers, also relied on civilian informants to snitch on women who ended pregnancies or sought to prevent them.

Doctors went to jail. Women were forced into humiliating and invasive gynaecological examinations every three months, just to make sure they were obeying the law. If these examiners found evidence of a pregnancy, it was noted down — and if she didn’t give birth in the expected period, she could be prosecuted. By the 1980s, Romania’s orphanages were overflowing with malnourished, neglected and abused children. But Texas’s conservative lawmakers appear to view it as an aspiration.

There is little more intimate and important than deciding whether or not to continue gestating a pregnancy, and little more invasive than legally forcing a woman or girl to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth against her will. Pregnancy and childbirth remain life-threatening acts for millions of women. Forcing women into unwilling motherhood is among the cruelest acts of misogyny imaginable.

The Republican dogma that the right to have an abortion has no real connection to the right to privacy that had been embedded in American law for decades by 1973 has always been bullshit, but the nature of the Texas law should make this particularly clear.

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