'Insidious,' 'draconian,' 'cruel': New Texas abortion law empowers vigilantism, experts say

Abortion advocates in Texas say the law will encourage their opponents to flood courts with lawsuits that will cripple their ability to operate.

7/24/2021 7:16:00 PM

New Texas abortion law empowers vigilantism, encourages abortion opponents to flood courts with lawsuits that will cripple abortion advocates' ability to operate, experts say.

Abortion advocates in Texas say the law will encourage their opponents to flood courts with lawsuits that will cripple their ability to operate.

doesn't outright criminalize abortions after six weeks, but rather encourages civil lawsuits at the municipal, county and state level targeting the process by which a woman might seek abortion care.The law is also uniquely designed to disadvantage defendants, experts said. All damages would go right into the plaintiff’s pocket. If a defendant wins, they still must pay their own legal fees, but if a plaintiff bringing a suit wins, the defendant must pay both sides’ legal fees. Individuals who are thought to be helping a woman obtain abortion care can be sued multiple times by different people and parties.

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“It bakes in incentives and takes away disincentives for vigilante enforcement,” said Adriana Piñon, a senior staff attorney and policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.“It’s bounty hunting,” added the Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, president of the National Abortion Federation. “Abusive spouses, disapproving parents, angry neighbors or people with no relation at all will all have a legal right to harass,” she said, before connecting it to a broader rise in extremism in recent years.

“This kind incentivized vigilantism isn’t just about abortion issues. It’s private individuals patrolling the border with guns; it’s insurrectionists storming the U.S. Capitol. Now it’s the ability to sue about helping with or providing abortion care,” she said. “It’s part of a growing level and climate of vigilantism and violence that large chunks of the country feel is justified.” headtopics.com

The use of aggressive tactics against abortion-rights groups is nothing new. But the prevalence and intensity of those tactics have grown in recent years.According toNAF’s latest violence and disruption report, acts of violence and disruption targeting abortion providers — including invasions, trespassing, assault and battery, death threats and threats of harm, hate mail, hate calls, hate emails and bomb threats — rose 22 percent to more than 153,000 incidents in 2019 (the most recent year NAF has assessed), an all-time high, the majority of which were incidents of picketing.

Multiple officials at abortion funds and abortion clinics described a huge uptick in hacking and online bullying in recent years, too.That includes Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, a network of abortion clinics across Texas, and a plaintiff in a

federal lawsuit to blockS.B. 8 from going into effect, who said her group has seen hundreds of attempts by hackers to take her group’s site down and access her group’s databases.But because of S.B. 8, she and numerous others said, the venue for that kind of intimidation would now be the U.S. court system.

“It’s the unusual next venue for that kind of surveillance and harassment and intimidation that anti-abortion folks have engaged against clinics and patients for decades,” she said.“But it’s nonetheless yet another new and frightening chapter, because it’s formalized the ability for the anti-abortion movement to have a private cause of action against clinics and people helping others get to the clinic,” she added. headtopics.com

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Lawyers working on thesuit to block the law from going into effecthave expressed cautious optimism about their case, even though they are challenging a law that was cleverly designed with a new, untested enforcement mechanism in mind.“We don’t think Texas’ strategy is going to be successful because, even though private individuals are enabled to file suits, ultimately there are still government officials in charge of enforcement of the law. It’s just that these officials are in the court system, not law enforcement,” said Marc Hearron, who as senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights is working on the suit.

But abortion-rights advocates say that doesn't matter: If the law is upheld, the avalanche of lawsuits still means just about anyone who opposes abortion could use the court system to stop people like Zaena Zamora, who runs the Frontera Fund, which provides money for care and travel. As a result, Zamora could be sued by countless people for each woman she has helped receive abortion care.

Last year, Zamora helped about 400 women who live in the southern-most tip of Texas, predominantly Hispanic and below the poverty line, travel within and outside of the state to receive care. That would amount to a minimum of $4 million in damages owed, plus legal fees for both sides in each suit. Zamora's yearly budget for practical support and abortion care funds is below $100,000.

Read more: NBC News »

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So can the woman sue the father to help with expenses with the pregnancy and delivery? Then of course once the baby is born child support and taking responsibility. Under the current government Texas is going backwards more than 50 years, and the only thing this will guarantee is this administration won’t be in charge for much longer

Strange the same people that won't get the covid vaccine say my body my choice. Is Abortion going to be like Prohibition laws? Prohibition failed; folks just would not give up alcohol. Abortion is already GREATLY restricted. WHO are the people forgetting countless women who suffered from illegal abortions, and will again if they must. Freedom is Choice.

Republican garbage 😡😡😡WomenUnite Let’s start with Abbott’s, Paxton’s, Cruz’s, Gohmert’s wives and those in Right to Life East Texas and see how quickly that law gets shut down. People can’t be punished for frivolousness… so why not? 🤷🏼‍♂️ (If it sounds petty and stupid, that’s because it is—as is the law)

Abortion is The Constitutional Right of The Woman to Choose what happens to Her body . It is Not The right of any Evangelist MALE CHOVENIST PIG to GOVERN. AFYER All He is Is not the perspn who is Suffering. STAY OUT of THE BEDROOM OF OTHERS. ( PERVERTS ) . Sounds like there's a birthrate problem in that state.

Name one !!! VoteBluePA Unfortunately this is believable and right on with their idealogy

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Everyone should be an “abortion opponent”. Regardless. These people will not listen to science, will they! Restricting someone from removing a parasite from their body is insanity! We need to remove these parasites both the unborn and those who oppose abortion from our society! You will never stop abortions, and anyone who thinks overturning RvW will stop them is ignorant af and living in fantasy land. You'll only stop safe, legal abortions. People will still abort pregnancies they don't want, it will just be a back alley or with shit bought online.

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