This morning numerous anti-Life organizations and individuals brought a class action suit in federal court against a broad list of persons including the attorney general in an effort to block recently passed Senate Bill 8, the Texas Heartbeat Act, which is scheduled to go into effect on September 1.
The plaintiffs include ten abortion facilities, five abortionists and pro-abortion religious leaders, and six organizations that fund abortions.
The suit complains that; “If not blocked, S.B. 8 will force abortion providers and others who are sued to spend massive amounts of time and money to defend themselves in lawsuits across the state in which the deck is heavily stacked against them.”
There are two primary complaints from the abortion industry. First, the enforcement mechanism of the Texas Heartbeat Act is unprecedented since there is only civil liability. Secondly, these suits, which may be brought against both the abortionist as well as anyone who aids or abets in the abortion, will likely lead to the closure of abortion sites and individuals being deterred from assisting in abortions.
Responding to this abortion industry lawsuit, Texas Right to Life Legislative Director John Seago commented, saying; “The lawsuit is a desperate measure by an industry that has admitted they do not fully know how to fight such an innovative and unique Pro-Life law.”
This is clearly an attempt to make as many accusations against as many individuals as possible. The abortion industry is hoping that an activist federal judge will once again pick one argument they like, out of the many attempted, to halt the Pro-Life law.
This strategy is legally questionable since the law does not rely upon the attorney general, district attorneys, the Texas Medical Board, or any other government agency in Texas for enforcement. Instead, Senate Bill 8 authorizes individual Texans to file lawsuits against abortionists, abortion clinics, or anyone who aids or abets an abortion in violation of the law. Since none of these lawsuits can be brought until September 1, the abortion industry filed this lawsuit against representatives of classes of individuals who might be involved in future suits.
One surprising aspect of this lawsuit is that Mark Dickson, Director of Right to Life East Texas, was listed as a defendant because of comments on Facebook indicating that he is interested in filing lawsuits and helping other Pro-Life Texans file lawsuits against the abortion industry if they violate Pro-Life policies. This seems to be nothing more than the legal bullying of a grassroots Pro-Life activist who has spearheaded the movement to assist Texas cities pass local ordinances making their towns Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn.
The Texas Heartbeat Act was one of Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life Priorities during the Regular Session of the 87th Texas Legislature earlier this year. Texas Right to Life proudly advocated for this strong, innovative, life-saving legislation along with Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler) and Representative Shelby Slawson (R-Stephenville).
Texas Right to Life was cited in the lawsuit as praising the law for “taking a different route” other than being enjoined by federal courts before the law can even be enforced. Responding to the suit John Seago said;
The abortion industry has responded to this innovative law with a far-reaching and distorted lawsuit. We still have the utmost confidence in the innovative legal strategy and carefully drafted nature of SB 8 and we fully believe this Pro-Life Priority will ultimately be upheld and save countless preborn lives.