Texas Republicans’ three new laws — an abortion near-ban, open gun-carry and voter suppression — will produce consequences that are partly foreseeable and may turn into something that advocates neither want nor expect.

The novel Texas approach uses intimidation by civil suits (rather than criminal complaints) to ban abortions after six weeks. Anyone could claim an individual aided or abetted an abortion and collect at least $10,000 plus court and legal fees without costs or risks.

In order to file, they would not even have to prove there was an abortion or that the accused aided it. Defendants would have to prove a negative, that they had nothing to do with an abortion. This would not be an absolute ban but still prevent most abortions.

Opportunists seeking easy money could get anonymous tips, which are easy to fabricate. “Vigilante bounty-hunting” will swamp courts with frivolous lawsuits. Some judges may stop the racket by ruling that accusers “lack standing,” that is, have not been personally harmed, and dismiss their suits “with prejudice” (can’t come back).

Under the new law, accusers are shielded from penalties such as countersuits and heavy legal expenses. This offends law and elemental fairness and will probably be ruled unconstitutional. But, says an old principle, a bad law is worse than no law at all because it undermines respect for all laws. The Texas misuse of law as a political weapon teaches disrespect for the legal system as a whole, something all lawyers should oppose.

Actually, states could use the Texas gimmick to ban anything: helping citizens vote, requiring masks or teaching critical race theory. Liberals could use it for their causes: gun control, failure to get vaccinated or not being sufficiently diverse. Unlimited accusations could turn us into a nation of spies and snitches.

Will doctors and nurses, especially in OB-GYN, leave Texas? Any physician whose patient suffers a miscarriage could be accused of performing an abortion. They would have to, at great expense, prove that they didn’t. Texas could face a shortage of medical professionals, especially as hospital staff, exhausted from unvaccinated COVID cases, take vacations or move to friendlier states.

The Supreme Court declined, 5-4, to block the Texas law, but an upcoming Mississippi case could overturn Roe v. Wade altogether, rendering the Texas gambit irrelevant. The “originalist” court majority may return the power to states, some of which may then outlaw abortion totally and directly.

Abortion will not disappear. Some unsafe operations will lead to deaths. Better-off women may fly to other states. (Are jetliner pilots thus “aiding”?) Some may try Mexico, although its abortion laws also vary by state, and several conservative northern Mexican states are extremely restrictive. Mexico’s Supreme Court has just decriminalized abortion, but its full legalization is still far off. Pills mailed from out of state would be hard to stop and beyond Texas law.

From pro-life to pro-death: Texans 21 and older, aside from convicted felons, can now openly carry sidearms, cowboy-style, with no special permit or safety test required. Presumably that includes handguns with 31-shot magazines. Would private firms be able to keep out firearms? How about churches and colleges? Will you check your gun upon entering?

Restaurants and bars could witness shootouts over spilled drinks. More deranged gunmen will attack places of work. Most Texans oppose the open-carry law, and police predict more gunplay. Most Nashville bars ban guns, or say they do, because owners fear a falloff in customers, especially the lucrative tourist trade.

Texas has also, under the guise of ballot security, just restricted voting hours, mail-in ballots, ride-givers and drop-off boxes, calculated to discourage voters of color, who will now have to take time off from work to wait many hours in long lines. This was the bill that Democratic state legislators delayed by fleeing to Washington. Texas districts are gerrymandered to shortchange Democrats.

Texas, however, risks losing its enviable ability to attract businesses from other states. Several growing California companies, fleeing high taxes and high rents, have relocated to Texas (and Florida). But liberal executives and staffers who find Texas laws retrograde could persuade firms to seek states with low taxes but less conservative rage.

States that went for Trump in 2020 are adopting Texas-type laws, which heighten polarization and regional antagonisms. The Texas triple energizes liberals, who could advertise in next year’s midterms: “You wanna be another Texas?” Most moderates and independents will say no, especially suburban women. Suddenly, what looked like a Republican takeover of one or both houses of Congress in 2022 gives Democrats the chance to retain them.

Biden has announced pro-choice as a major election issue. Democrats could lose in the Supreme Court but win elections. And the Texas triple-play has blotted out Afghanistan as a news topic critical of Biden. Who cares about extremists in Afghanistan when we’ve got Texas?