The law gives rights to private citizens. Any citizen can report the violation and sue a fellow citizen in civil court. It is this legal maneuver that experts say allowed the law to defer its first challenge to the Supreme Court.
There is also a cash incentive to encourage citizens’ actions. Plaintiffs who successfully sue are awarded $10,000, a stipulation that Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor wrote in his dissenting opinion, effectively deputing citizens of the state as bounty hunters.
The civil enforcement portion of the law is one reason Judge Robert Pittman gave last night to block its enforcement. They also wrote that there was a deliberate attempt by SB-8 lawmakers to “prevent review by federal courts, which have an obligation to protect their rights in violation of the statute.”
He was referring to the constitutional right to abortion protected by the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. The Austin clinic and others across the state have already lost staff, fearing legal ramifications.
Anyone who takes a patient to an abortion, from a doctor to an Uber driver, can be legally guilty under SB-8.
Who is the real target of SB-8? Is this woman trying to get an abortion in Texas?