Texas abortion law creates a bounty hunter of sorts. See here how it works.
State Senator Brian Hughes, the primary author of the Texas law, has said that his model for the law, known as SB8, was a local ordinance passed in Wascom, Texas, in 2019, which allowed residents to seek abortions from anyone seeking abortions. was given the right to sue. Helped to get to the city or someone. Unlike SB8, however, the Wascom law was largely symbolic, given that there were no clinics in the city that actually performed abortions.
What legal issues does private enforcement raise?
The Justice Department sued Texas on Thursday, arguing that SB8 was passed “in open defiance of the Constitution” and that the Supreme Court cases in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. But the department’s 27-page complaint took particular issue with the reliance of the law, called “bounty hunters,” saying it empowered them to enforce the law “to shield the state from responsibility.” An unprecedented plan”.
In addition, officials claimed, SB 8 essentially stopped the practice of abortion in Texas and achieved its goal of stopping the procedures without filing a single private lawsuit. Ultimately, the complaint pointed out that the mere threat of litigation was enough to “make it too risky to operate an abortion clinic” in Texas.
The department’s legal case rests on the argument that ordinary people, if they sued abortion providers, would actually act as agents of the state of Texas. What the government is seeking in its complaint is a federal injunction that bars everyone throughout the state from filing lawsuits against abortion providers, which some lawyers say may be a bit far-fetched. Then again, it couldn’t be more far-fetched than SB8, which gave everyone throughout the state the right to sue.
Ultimately, legal scholars said, SB8 is likely to be challenged in another way as well. At some point, the abortion provider or someone else involved in the procedure — say, a group that funds abortions — may proceed as a calculated test case and voluntarily violate the law. But this can take time and have uncertain consequences.
“Whatever it is, it’s going to take some time,” said Ms Ziegler. “And in the meantime, this law will remain the status quo.”
Are other states adopting similar laws?
In recent days, lawmakers and officials in at least seven states have said they are considering similar laws. Last week, a Republican, Gov. Christie L. of South Dakota. Noem said he had instructed lawyers in his office to review SB8 “to make sure we have the strongest pro-life laws on the books.” Around the same time, Florida State Senate Republican leader Wilton Simpson said members of his chamber were already working on a statute similar to the one in Texas.
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