The emails show Texas’ key consultant putting words into the mouths of the state’s so-called expert witnesses, attempting to persuade them to selectively exclude data that did not match his anti-choice bias, and, in one case, walking extremely close to the line of outright ghostwriting what were supposed to be independent reports.
Why are states continuing to pass abortion restrictions based partly on erroneous theories that abortion harms women? And why are state attorneys general calling as expert witnesses some of the very people who proffered these spurious notions to state legislatures in the first place?
The issues might have changed, but the techniques now widely used by conservatives to distort science and, with it, public policy, remain the same.
Once a legislature accepts bogus facts, a larger problem can arise: Courts will frequently defer to the factual findings of state legislatures, which provides a gaping loophole for junk science to wend its way into judicial decisions all the way up to the Supreme Court.
On Thursday, the State of Texas called its final defense witnesses arguing for the necessity of new abortion regulations that require abortion-providing doctors to have hospital admitting privileges and abortion facilities to operate as hospital-like ambulatory surgical centers.
On Wednesday, the State of Texas presented its first witnesses in a federal court hearing concerning the latest legal challenge to HB 2, the state’s omnibus anti-abortion law.
An unusual suggestion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit could have significant implications for trials over admitting privileges requirements in Alabama and Wisconsin—it could be the difference between one court upholding the requirement and the other striking it.