Texas’s new abortion ban opened the door to allowing private citizens to enforce restrictive laws, giving them incentives to prosecute anyone (doctors, drivers for ride-hailing companies, helpful friends) who were able to perform abortions. “aids or abets” a person.
But it’s unlikely that there will be a flood of lawsuits — at least not for now.
Texas’ new law, known as SB8, is one of the strictest in the country. This prevents people from having an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, even though many people do not even know they are pregnant at that time. There are no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
Private citizens — even those who do not live in Texas — will receive compensation of $10,000 plus legal fees if they bring a successful lawsuit. He does not face any punishment for bringing a frivolous suit.
sb8 expected spawn copycat bill all over the country. The Supreme Court recently refused to stop it from taking effect, although the justices did not rule on the merits of the law.
But on Monday a Texas state judge temporarily issued an injunction against Texas’ right to life blocked Prevents anti-abortion group from suing Planned Parenthood litigation continues To try to block the law permanently. The prohibitory orders will remain in force until at least April 2022. CNN noted that there are temporary restraining orders against Other anti-abortion advocates Too.
In addition to this order, however, Planned Parenthood stated that it Currently SB 8 compliant And not to abort when patients are six weeks into the pregnancy – something that even Texas believes Right to Life is true.
“We are not going to start filing cases ourselves or encourage others to file cases unless there is evidence that the law is being violated. And we don’t have that evidence at this point,” said John Seago, Texas Right to Life legislative director.
Texas Right to Life is leading the Texas process of building a network of attorneys to take on potential cases and claimants. The group set up a website to collect tips online of potential SB8 breaches, but it was flooded quickly With fake submissions by activists on Tiktok and others.
Sigo said the group has hundreds of lawyers in its network who can be tapped to take on SB8 cases if needed.
“We are trying to make sure that the right kind of cases can be brought in if necessary,” he said.
But Texas Right to Life cannot necessarily control who will bring the case forward as any private citizen is allowed to do so under Texas law. And many individuals may hesitate to do so because it will attract attention to them, especially if it is one of their first cases.
Still, Sigo said, efforts are being made to manage the process, assuming that the implementation of SB8 will entail additional scrutiny.
“Honestly, there is a concern that the first few cases, if they are necessary … evidence, that this may – although not a legally binding precedent – may set the tone for future cases and what the judges see.” are,” Sigo said.
Last week, the Justice Department filed suit against Texas, saying the state enacted SB 8.in open defiance of the constitution“
According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, approximately 10% of women of reproductive age in the United States live in Texas. In other words, after SB 8, “for 1 in 10 American women aged 15-49, Roe [v. Wade] Effectively meaningless at the moment.”