Friday, September 3, 2021

"Taliban" Texas plays out its extremist brand of GOP politics on women’s bodies

Congratulations, Texas, you did it. You figured out a way to write an antiabortion law that everyone agrees is unconstitutional under current law — and to ensure that the women whose rights are being violated don’t have the ability to challenge it in court.”--Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post 




Yesterday morning’s news indicates that in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal of all military personnel and operations from Afghanistan, we may “collaborate” with the Taliban to address the threat posed by terrorist offshoot ISIS-K, the group that claims responsibility for the heinous massacre of 13 U.S. servicemen and women and multiples of that among Afghan civilians this past week. That’s perhaps a pragmatic decision on the part of the Pentagon—as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley puts it, “In war, you do what you must...not what you necessarily want to do.”  

So dealing with the Taliban is a pragmatic “thing to do” when needs must; is that, then, what explains the extremist lunacy in Texas these days? I'm not even the first to see that connection, as the above cartoon suggests. One way or another, the GOP is certainly borrowing some basic approaches from the Taliban. The news this week tells us that the Texas GOP has basically forced what amounts to a total ban on a woman’s reproductive rights this past legislative session, during the same period they passed an oppressive, self-serving voter suppression law.  There's a larger context than dubious concerns about unborn children: at stake here is real power to influence the future, and the GOP knows it. The more extremist GOP elements within Texas have been at war with women, especially women of color and their rights forever, so I guess we’re seeing their spin on Taliban collaboration.  


Recommended reading!
The extremism of the Texas GOP’s position, as expressed in a statute that is clearly in violation of federal law, not to mention a woman’s right to the privacy of her health information—just dares anyone to challenge them legally. How can we not see this for the bald-faced, autocratic power grab it is? The so-called “tyranny of the minority” is becoming very real here and it’s being carved out on women's bodies by a throw-back patriarchy that is enabled by, as always, other women

Is protectiveness no longer a maternal instinct?

As for the GOP’s hypocritical posturing about its concern for unborn fetuses, these same politicos can’t be bothered to protect the children and pregnant women of their state from COVID with a simple mask mandate—I have grandchildren living in Texas, so yes, this is personal—so why should we believe that they care about the unborn? The GOP and the religious zealots that tend to obsess over this issue care about controlling women’s reproductive capabilities for their own self-aggrandizing, power-grubbing purposes, plain and simple.  

Yet, that’s the name of the game with Texas legislation these days, it seems: as cited above in Ruth Marcus’s editorial, through the nuances of this new abortion ban, (TXSR8), a woman’s ability to challenge an egregious blow to her federally-guaranteed rights and potentially her life is simply rendered null and void. If Roe v. Wade means anything as a long-standing, legal precedent, this is an unconstitutional effort from the get-go—besides, the Constitution provides in Article VI, Clause 2 that federal laws supersede conflicting state-level laws for very good reason—to protect all American citizens from the excesses of one state or another when it comes to basic human rights and other issues of national concern.  I think it's time to ask to whom the Supreme Court is answering these days.

Only the wealthiest will have the means to evade the threats this law poses to all women, not just those seeking abortions. What will happen to women who miscarry? Will their privacy also be invaded at that most difficult time? Will the medical staff and facilities that help them get through their loss be held liable to invasive, bounty-seeking law suits?  

Clearly, the sentiment and extremist ideology driving TXSR8 has something to do with women’s rights (reproductive and otherwise) being inconsequential from the get-go: just try to force a Texas man to wear a mask for the sake of people’s health around him, or to submit to a background check before allowing him to terrorize fellow citizens with his firearms—then we’re talking sacred rights and liberties that must be protected at all costs.  

No, women are clearly being forced in instances like TXSR8 into a subservient, second-class citizen role, and we have no reason to believe that this type of law will be restricted to Texas, either: in fact, I’d say we Americans have no standing to criticize the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls now...Texas has basically signed on to a similarly radical fundamentalist doctrine in regards to women, and the conservative majority in our Supreme Court has endorsed their efforts by electing to do nothing. Passive aggression at its most destructive. This, despite Chief Justice Roberts joining the Court’s liberal Justices to vehemently dissent. WAPO cites Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who wrote the dissent: 

“’The Court’s order is stunning,’ she wrote. ‘Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.’” 

Considering the obstacles to legal challenges that the authors of TXSR8 built into it, basically turning the enforcement of the law over to vigilante, bounty-hunting citizens who are empowered by the statute to sue anyone who aids or abets the abortion of a fetus outside of the 6-week ban (even an Uber driver!) and receive a $10,000 bounty if all goes according to plan. It's not difficult to envision a small hop, skip and jump from this to the dystopian world of the Handmaid’s Tale and worse. We have a generation of young women (and men, as well—they suffer from this too) who simply don’t need this added pressure in their lives at the moment.  

The Texas GOP and the U.S. Supreme Court have opened, to my eye, a Pandora’s box of tyranny that must be stopped by anyone who cares about not just the wellbeing of women and families in this nation, but the future of democracy itself. I wish this were hyperbole: if state legislatures can—without impunity or redress at the federal level—abridge women’s rights by essentially unleashing a litigious, bounty-seeking mob on women’s privacy and the privacy of their families and friends and medical advisors so they can file suits (these people peering inside clinic windows with flashlights are being called “volunteers” in anti-abortion circles), legislatures can do similar damage to everyone’s rights, for any reason.   

Thankfully, Texas women and women across the nation can count on Biden’s support to re-seal this particular Pandora’s box . According to CNN: 

“In a statement Thursday morning, Biden used the word [abortion] again, harshly criticizing the Texas law as an ‘unprecedented assault on a woman's constitutional rights.’... Biden called the law's novel enforcement structure -- which allows private citizens to bring civil suits against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion -- a ‘bizarre scheme’ with the potential to unleash ‘unconstitutional chaos.’  

‘Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women,’ he wrote.” 

Talk is cheap in situations like this, of course—let's see what the Executive branch and Congress (whose joint responsibility it is to check state level legislatures and even the Supreme Court when it fails to protect the rule of law) will actually do to protect women’s federally-guaranteed rights.  

Predictably, the chart for the moment TXSR8 became Texas law at two minutes before midnight on September 1st, the reported moment the Supreme Court gave it the greenlight by refusing to respond to an emergency appeal to stop it, reflects a number of chaotic and potentially repressive dynamics at work. As it seems to be the case with every current event chart I look at these days, the midpoints reveal some rich information, often pertaining to the deeper, less obvious power plays at work, so we’ll add some consideration of key midpoints into our discussion here about Chart #1 below as well. 

As you can tell from the introduction above and my title for the chart below, I don’t pretend to be "objective” about this issue; if you can live with that, let’s begin by briefly considering the cyclical index for this event. We don’t often take the time to calculate the balance of waxing and waning angular separations for all ten outer planetary cycles in our solar system, but this situation warrants the extra insight we can gain from doing so, so let’s begin there.  

In case you’re not familiar with this technique, every cycle has an angular separation number (between the two planets involved) at any given moment that is either positive (in waxing cycles) or negative (in waning cycles), and once we know those numbers, we can calculate the “tone” of an event or time period on balance. History shows clearly that deeply difficult periods in societies tend to correspond with deeply negative cyclical index numbers, and more dynamic, forward-moving periods usually correspond with higher positive numbers.  


Table 1. Cyclical Index, “Taliban Texas Abortion Ban becomes law” 



Waning (-) 

Index totals (waxing + waning numbers) 













































Index totals on balance 





No surprise, the cyclical index numbers are deeply negative here, reflecting not just the topic at hand, but so many other crises we’ve been experiencing lately. During the early years of the Trump administration, virtually all of the cycles were in waning condition, so the numbers were even more negative and they were reflected in the tone of that administration and the decay our government institutions experienced during it. Since then, three key cycles completed and relaunched in 2020 (Jupiter-Saturn, Jupiter-Pluto and Saturn-Pluto), so the numbers here are actually less negative than they were up to that point.  

It’s possible, in fact, that what seems to have been a positive turn may have actually backfired in some ways: the Saturnian influence in all three of these new cycles (Jupiter-Saturn launched in Saturn-ruled Aquarius; Jupiter-Pluto and Saturn-Pluto both launched in Saturn-ruled Capricorn) has arguably facilitated a new wave of repressive, state-level abortion and voting laws that have been pushed through legislatures since those cycles launched, with little regard for people’s rights.  

Let’s consider the chart. Again, I’ve used 11:58 p.m. August 31, 2021 as the date and time; The Economist reported that the Supreme Court gave the greenlight for the bill to become law at that time, so that’s what we’re using here. 


Chart #1. Taliban Texas Abortion Ban becomes law (TXSR8), August 31, 2021, 11:58 a.m. DST, Austin, TX. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast with Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.  

Notably, all of the outer planets (Jupiter-through-Pluto) inhabit the upper hemisphere of this chart, as timed. Jupiter and Saturn (both Rx in Aquarius), Neptune and Pallas (both Rx in Pisces) are elevated in the 9th and 10th houses, respectively, with Pluto (Rx, Capricorn) enjoying its comfort zone in the 8th and Uranus (Rx, Taurus) feeling out of place in the 12th. Needless to say, the upper hemisphere of a mundane chart is where the powers-that-be of the State are most at home, so it’s not surprising to see them arrayed so interestingly—even if they are all in retrograde state at the moment—against the more Yin lower hemisphere, where we find a number of feminine indicators: the Moon (Gemini), trine Jupiter (Rx, Aquarius), Venus-conjunct-Vesta (Libra) and trine Jupiter Rx, the MC and the Jupiter/Saturn midpoint (Aquarius).  

It’s quite possible that it will take a while for Texas women at large to realize what’s happened to them, but clearly women were instrumental to passing this bill into law. Even so, the story seems to have been kept low key until yesterday and there’s now a lot of “happy talk” and touching personal anecdotes (trines) designed to justify the action. Women can be as ideologically tribal and uncaring about those outside their sphere as anyone, clearly; these trines almost make them feel like the “enemy within” that gave this bill wings. 

Those celebrating this law pursued it as ambitiously as Jupiter, fixed ideologically in Aquarius, pursues potentially radical growth, which fits the situation. The GOP is counting heavily on the repressive laws it’s passed recently to rig House elections to their benefit in 2022. This probably helps explain the sensibility of Venus-Vesta trine Jupiter Rx—there’s a strong sense of “entitlement” in this aspect that isn't likely to admit that an action that benefits them politically could possibly be wrong. Echoes of Trump’s entitled attitude toward the presidency (how could he possibly have been beaten, fair and square?) are strong here. 

It’s quite possible that media distortion and suppression accompanied the progress of this law, as well: out-of-sign Moon (Gemini) t-squares Mercury-opposite-Neptune (Libra-Pisces). Earlier today, I knew more about this law going into effect than my son who lives in Texas did!  

Finally, the feminine indicator Ceres conjoins No. Node and ASC (Gemini) as it tightly trines Saturn Rx. This reinforces that this legislation—as damaging as it will likely be, especially for poor and disadvantaged women—was probably also facilitated and promoted by women. In fact, the voting record verifies this—if I’m reading the names correctly, twelve Texas Congress women sponsored and voted for this bill against the interests of their fellow Texas women. It was an easy way to make points with their extremist base (trine to Saturn), I suppose—unfortunately, no surprise there. The Moon/Uranus Rx midpoint conjoins this Ceres—here, she's definitely an agent of change and upheaval to women (around lunar reproductive issues, no less). 

A bit too conflicted, maybe?
Sun (Virgo) inconjoins fixed Saturn (Rx, Aquarius) and trines Uranus (Rx, Taurus). The president’s (Sun) announcement that his administration will defend women’s rights in Texas against this bill one way or another could be a very heavy lift (Sen. Manchin’s already signaled that he may continue being an obstructionist), although there could be some surprises (Uranus), beyond the abortion ban itself, too. Uranus Rx occupies the 12th house here, though, so any surprise reversals are unlikely to proceed due to logistical challenges (Uranus squares Jupiter Rx/Saturn Rx midpoint). Bottom line, the Saturn Rx/Uranus Rx midpoint (26° +Pisces) just misses conjoining Neptune, but squares Moon (Gemini), suggesting that this culture-war issue (with civil rights ramifications) will continue to be unsettled and in flux, but will resonate as oppressive and controlling nevertheless.  

Mars (Virgo) opposes Neptune-Pallas (both Rx, Pisces); Mars widely trines Uranus Rx (Taurus). The opposition here speaks loudly to the distorted, ideologically-biased sense of Justice that has informed the life of TX SR8 so far. We can also see here that the impulses to “do the right thing” that a Virgo Mars might embrace were likely also suppressed—how many Texas Congressmen and women voted to pass this legislation against their own consciences and knowledge of federal law just because it’s the thing to do in the GOP these days? I don’t think it’s any accident that this opposition ties in quite tightly with Trump’s natal Gemini-Sagittarius oppositions (chart not shown). Tribalism knows no bounds with the kind of polarizing forces we see here.  

Luckily, the Moon in this chart falls outside the orb needed for a t-square with the Mars-Neptune opposition, but that first house and its Gemini occupants are definitely implicated in t-squares through midpoints between Ceres/Moon and No. Node/Moon. The passage of this ban into law was definitely “on trend” and intended to catch women in a self-defeating “trick.” I have to believe that even those women who were instrumental in its passage will eventually wake up and regret what they’ve done, but for now it’s too late. 



Final thoughts 

In these Sibly Pluto return times, the U.S. is dealing with the re-emergence of so many of its original “sins” --of the spirit and of the flesh. Racism and misogyny are flip sides to that same old tired record, of course, and both have re-flowered into full view with a vengeance. These twin demons inform the bills coming out of Texas, but even more troublingly, their resurgence seems to represent a national trend. There’s a nasty, racially-tinged “originalist” movement that seems to want to rewrite our Constitution to reflect its raw, 1780’s form, when slavery was an accepted norm, women were chattel with no rights, and only land-owning men had the vote. The Taliban's extremist impulses are regrettably quite alive in our own deep-cultural DNA; we just never had to wear burqas.

Wouldn’t those be the “good old days,” a chance for toxic patriarchy and white supremacy to re-establish their stranglehold on this nation, once and for all? Quick, shall we clamp down on any approach that might actually address the real needs of our current times and replace it with the medieval Puritan sensibility that burned and drowned women in Salem out of religious hysteria (and not a little power-mongering)? Climate change is likely to hurt those who can least afford the disruptions first, so from this perversely inhumane, compassion-free point-of-view, where’s the problem?

And to GOP power players, please stop crying crocodile tears over Afghan women and girls if you’re not going to protect the interests of our own women and girls. The Taliban isn’t an organization as much as it’s a form of twisted ideological extremism that feels entitled to force its perspective and beliefs on everyone. There is no such “right” -- it’s tyranny, plain and simple, wherever it happens.  

Unfortunately, it’s alive and well in Texas.   


Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact: 

© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved. 


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