Texas’ abortion ban has a novel enforcement mechanism:
Usually, a lawsuit seeking to block a law because it is unconstitutional would name state officials as defendants. However, the Texas law, which makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, bars state officials from enforcing it and instead deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or “aids and abets” it.
The patient may not be sued, but doctors, staff members at clinics, counselors, people who help pay for the procedure, and even an Uber driver taking a patient to an abortion clinic are all potential defendants. Plaintiffs, who do not need to live in Texas, have any connection to the abortion or show any injury from it, are entitled to $10,000 and their legal fees recovered if they win. Prevailing defendants are not entitled to legal fees.
The Supreme Court hasn’t yet ruled on the constitutionality of this law. But the conservative justices (minus Roberts) ruled that, while we await a ruling, no injunction against this enforcement mechanism is possible.
So maybe the Texas law will eventually be found unconstitutional (which it is, blatantly) – but in the months or years it’ll take for that to happen, abortion providers in Texas will be driven out of business, and many Texans will suffer enforced childbirth.
Here’s how I’d like to see Democratically-controlled states respond.
Democratic states should ban all privately-owned handguns, with the enforcement mechanisms taken word for word from Texas’ abortion ban.
A private handgun ban would be blatantly unconstitutional under D.C. vs Heller, but the Supreme Court has ruled that the civilian-vigilante style of enforcement would make the ban immune to injunction while the inevitable lawsuit proceeds.
Throw in an assault rifle (broadly defined) ban, a high-capacity magazine ban, and trigger locks requirements for all firearms.
Actually, why stop at banning guns? Let’s have a $10,000 bounty for unvaccinated adults.
Sure, it’s probably unconstitutional, but with no injunction possible, we could force a lot of people to turn in their guns and get vaccinated before there’s a final ruling. A lot of gun dealers might be forced out of business, too.
Seriously. If they want laws enforced by citizens going after $10,000 bounties, let’s give them what they want.