The GOP wants to take away young people's rights too

20 December 2022
Not content with taking away women's rights to decide what happens to their own bodies, the GOP are determined to strip the rights of children and young people as well. 

Matthew Kacsmaryk, a federal district court Trump appointee in the Northern District of Texas, has upheld a lawsuit brought by local Republican official Alexander Deanda challenging Title X, which provides contraceptive access for low income people, including those under 18, on the grounds it "violates the constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children". Deanda believes it is his right to prevent his children from accessing contraception, as he is “raising each of his daughters in accordance with Christian teaching on matters of sexuality, which requires unmarried children to practice abstinence and refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage.” Deanda, whose lawyer, Jonathan Mitchell, helped write the Texas law that allows anyone to sue a person who aids or abets an abortion, and has wrote in a legal brief that women can control their reproductive lives by refraining from sexual intercourse, wants complete ownership of the lives of his children; and Kacsmaryk, who has form that there's not a culture wars issue he doesn't like to wade in on, thinks that's just swell.  

The ridiculous reach of the lawsuit will hopefully be its undoing on appeal. In order to pursue a law suit, plaintiffs must show "standing" - harm that has already occurred as a result of the law they are challenging. No "harm" has occurred to Deandra. He's not arguing against Title  X because his daughters have accessed contraception; he's challenging the law because they might, in future do so. 

This bloke isn't mad that his daughters accessed contraception. He's mad that they might be able to defy his mandate of pre-marital celibacy. And if they do - if one of his kids decides to enter a sexual relationship, or even if she needs contraception for medical reason - he wants to punish her for that choice. If you're going to have sex, you can't take the pill, you hussy. 

We've always known it was about control, not saving babies. There's kids in long term foster care, but better they bounce around the system for years than be adopted by a same sex couple. But it's about more than control, it's about punishment. Women must be punished for their sexuality by being forced to bear children as a consequence of their sex, whether they want to or not. Their concern doesn't end the second the baby exits the womb, but it does end shortly after. Some pro life types do adopt, but generally they only want to adopt healthy white new borns. Older children, children with disabilities, sibling groups and non white kids have much lower odds of long term placement (unless you can adopt from overseas, when you can boast of the heathen souls you've saved for Jesus for social media clout, until things go wrong - which, no surprise, they often do - and the poor kids are abandoned to illegal re-adoptions or even dumped back in their home country). 

This Deandra guy though, really. The rights of children have always been nebulosly defined. But Republicans want to take things back to the days when children were seen as their parents property to do with the parents see fit. In those days, children at least got some adult responsibility at a younger age. They didn't have to wait until they were 18. Already in many states of the U.S., parents have the right to deprive their children of any form of education under the guise of parental rights and home schooling. Now Republicans are losing their shit about children being told about elicit sexual practices, although many of the resources they cite aren't intended for "children" but 16 and 17 years olds. That's conservatives though - fine with 5 year olds going through active shooter drills, but not with 16 year olds beign told masturbatiom is okay or where to turn if you're questioning your gender identity.

They're all about the rights of the poor little aborted babies to live, but as soon as these babies get old enough to express wills and desires and sexualities of their own, they must be brought under swift control. 

Keep an eye on Deanda v. Becerra. Deanda's lawyers are seeking an injunction to shut down Title X, which the pro-life Fifth Circuit is likely to approve. If the case reaches the Supreme Court, it's likely the lack of legal standing will overcome even the deep biases of the Gang of Five conservative justices. In the meantime though, it could be an utter shit show, not only for people needing to access contraception, but for the precedent it sets about the rights of children and young people. And in the meantime, I hope Deanda's kids go absolutely hog wild on him and make his life a living hell.   


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