(Washington) The phrase “Bounty Hunter” is reminiscent of the famous “Wanted” posters and the old days of the vigilante cowboys of the American Wild West.
But they are still in the United States, where a new Texas abortion law has sparked debate over this controversial practice, allowing ordinary citizens to condemn those who help women perform abortions.
“This is absurd, almost anti-American,” Joe Biden said Friday, which was seen as an incentive to condemn.
“The worst thing about this law in Texas is that it creates a kind of self-declared awareness system, with people collecting rewards,” the US president lamented.
The law, which went into effect on Wednesday, distinguishes itself from other anti-abortion efforts in the United States because it relies “exclusively” on citizens.
She encourages people to file a civil complaint against those who help women perform abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, most of whom are unaware that they are pregnant.
These entourages may include the doctor, the taxi driver who took the patient to the clinic, or relatives who sponsored the procedure.
If convicted, the accused, who became the complainant, will receive at least $ 10,000 in “compensation.”
Hastily confiscated by family planning associations, the Supreme Court refused to block the law, dealing the most severe blow to the right to abortion in the United States for nearly half a century.
Among those who wanted to oppose it, Progressive Magistrate Sonia Sodomier condemned a “surprising” decision by five of the nine judges: “In fact, (Texas) should make the citizens of this state bonus hunters”.
Already, associations have called for anonymous denunciations of “helpers or supporters” of women seeking abortion. Conservative officials from other states in the United States have said they want to follow the example of Texas.
If the tradition of reward hunters had existed in Europe in the Middle Ages, this practice would now be largely illegal around the world.
But this is in the United States, where “bounty hunters” are responsible for searching for fugitives.
These were mainly defendants who appeared before a judge and were released on bail and borrowed this amount from specialized companies. A controversial activity found only in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world.
If the accused decides to flee, the company forces the dowry hunters to find him and recover his deposit.
Bulletproof underwear, handcuffs … some may be armed to the teeth and may be allowed to enter private residences.
“Today, many are truly private detectives trained in accredited schools,” explains AFP Tristan Capello, a history professor and professor at Johns Hopkins University. “They are essential in the American legal system, but the rules for this profession vary from state to state.”
The “shock” of slavery
Although it is difficult to estimate their exact number, one departmental organization, the “Professional Bail Agents of the United States,” estimates it at 15,000, while another (the “National Association of Fugitive Rescue Agents”) claims that 30,000 fugitives are arrested each year using these methods.
The industry was popular in the western countries of the 1950s. “This is a speech to very conservative American citizens,” he said. Capello mentions.
But for other Americans, Texas law has come as a “shock,” said Michael Goodwin, a law professor at the University of California: Berkeley.
“In the United States, Texas law has very little lawsuit that gives it the power to undermine the constitutional liberty of other citizens.”
“It simply came to our notice then […] Enforced these laws, which made it possible to monitor and hunt down black people seeking their freedom. ”
Ken White, a former federal attorney, said “the law is calculated to drown out anyone who is considered by conservatives to be associated with expensive, disgusting cases of abortion.”
While this “flood of small baseless trials” may not be over in the end, this law study will be “devastating” for the people involved.
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