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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/7/21

Abortion Bounty Hunters in Texas Are Not 'Whistleblowers' -- They're Cruel Vigilantes

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Message Norman Solomon

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As a journalist and activist, I've worked with a range of genuine whistleblowers during the last several decades. Coming from diverse backgrounds, they ended up tangling with institutions ranging from the Pentagon and CIA to the National Security Agency and the Veterans Administration. Their personalities and outlooks varied greatly, but none of them were bullies. None of them wanted to threaten or harm powerless people in distress. On the contrary, the point of the whistleblowing was to hold powerful institutions accountable for violations of human rights.

What the Texas vigilantes will be seeking to do is quite the opposite. The targets will be women who want abortions as well as their allies -- people under duress -- with pursuers seeing a bullseye on their backs.

The whistleblowers I've known have all taken huge risks. Most lost their jobs. Many endured all-out prosecutions on bogus charges, like violating the Espionage Act for the "crime" of informing the public with vital information. Some went to prison. Almost all suffered large -- often massive -- losses that wrecked their personal finances.

In sharp contrast, the Texans trying to cash in on the new law will risk nothing. While collaborating with the state to spy on the lives of others, they will be striving to enrich themselves.

"The state law created a so-called 'private right of action' to enforce the restriction," in the words of a CNN report. "Essentially, the legislature deputized private citizens to bring civil litigation -- with the threat of $10,000 or more in damages -- against providers or even anyone who helped a woman access an abortion after six weeks."

Calling those who exploit this law "whistleblowers" is a way to turn the true meaning of whistleblowing on its head. We might as well have history books referring to enforcers of the Fugitive Slave Act as "good Samaritans," or monitors of Jim Crow compliance as "civic activists."

It's fitting -- and revealing -- that the professed "whistleblowing" website thrown up by the big Texas Right to Life organization was welcomed by an internet provider that specializes in hosting services for extreme far-right groups. Thanks to a provider called Epik, the Daily Beast reported, the site "found a new home alongside neo-Nazis and white supremacists." The digital relocation came after the site was booted by GoDaddy on Friday. But before the end of the weekend, even Epik backed away.

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Yankeestorm is a Nashville, TN attorney and the baseball expert on "Prime Time Sports" 1510 WLAC. A native a Newark, NJ, Norm is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Drake Law. He currently resides in Nashville.

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