A Texas-Sized Abortion Controversy

editorial submitted by Right to Life of Michigan

Seemingly everyone is talking about Texas’ new abortion law. How did Texas prolifers achieve this victory?

Texas’ law bans abortions if the abortionist can detect the child’s heartbeat. Several states have passed similar bills, and they have all been blocked by federal courts. So, Texas decided to include a wrinkle in their law: the state is forbidden from enforcing the law. Instead, the law is to be enforced by citizens suing abortionists in court.

That legal tactic is not new. Private civil actions are used in many circumstances to enforce civil rights laws, environmental regulations, workplace discrimination, etc. Writing in the Washington Post, University of Denver professor Joshua C. Wilson said, “Texas’s abortion law is an example of conservatives learning from progressives.”

One trick abortion supporters have used to get federal courts to toss out other prolife laws is cheating the legal system’s rules of standing: people suing to block a law are generally required to prove that the law would harm them. However, for decades, courts have let abortion businesses cheat and given them “third party standing” to sue on behalf of women, rather than suing based on their real beef: prolife laws hurt their revenue streams.

Texas’ new law has turned this standing issue on its head. Their law gives citizens third-party standing to sue on behalf of unborn children.

Of course, the Abortion Industry sued to block Texas’ law. To the surprise of many, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the law by a vote of 5 to 4. The majority rightly pointed out nobody has sued an abortionist yet, so there is no case to hear yet. Sadly, the three pro-abortion Supreme Court justices don’t care about rules, so they voted to block the law, and even more sadly, Chief Justice John Roberts joined them. 

It remains to be seen what will happen with Texas’ clever new law. The law still has to survive a series of potential federal and state court challenges. The Supreme Court will likely decide the fate of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization long before they hear a case involving Texas’ law. If they overturn Roe v. Wade, Michigan’s existing abortion ban protecting every unborn child can go back into full effect.

However, in the meantime, many babies are being saved from death in the Lone Star State, and that’s a great thing. Elections have consequences!