Texas Senate Bill 8, which practically bars abortions in the state, has an unusual* provision whereby civil claims against abortion providers can be asserted by private plaintiffs not involved in or directly impacted by the abortion. In fact, the state is barred from enforcing the law directly.
This has had the effect of evading, or at least delaying, federal judicial review by (apparently) creating a situation where abortion providers do not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the law until a suit is brought against them, and abortion seekers do not have standing at all.
Opponents of abortion restrictions contend that that effect was the primary purpose of the provision. Would supporters of the law agree with that characterization? Or have they put forward alternative arguments for why private civil actions, rather than direct enforcement, is a reasonable policy in this case?
*: this article says:
“It’s a very unique law and it’s a very clever law,” said Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston.
The relevant part of the law is:
Sec. 171.207. LIMITATIONS ON PUBLIC ENFORCEMENT. (a) Notwithstanding Section 171.005 or any other law, the requirements of this subchapter shall be enforced exclusively through the private civil actions described in Section 171.208. No enforcement of this subchapter, and no enforcement of Chapters 19 and 22, Penal Code, in response to violations of this subchapter, may be taken or threatened by this state, a political subdivision, a district or county attorney, or an executive or administrative officer or employee of this state or a political subdivision against any person, except as provided in Section 171.208.
Sec. 171.208. CIVIL LIABILITY FOR VIOLATION OR AIDING OR ABETTING VIOLATION. (a) Any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a civil action against any person who: [List of elective abortion related activities]