“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party, should fear,” U.S. Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland, who is leading the effort to halt the law, said. “If it prevails, it may become a model for action in other areas, by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said this month he would “have a look” at whether a Texas type of abortion law could apply in his state. And South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, also a Republican, said she felt emboldened to explore tightening abortion restrictions in her state.
Legislators in Mississippi and Arkansas have expressed intentions to pass similar laws, and in Missouri, state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman has made the topic one of her top legislative efforts.
Coleman was behind a 2019 law that banned abortions after the eighth week of pregnancy, but is currently unenforced amid a federal court challenge by Planned Parenthood. Still, the state is among the most restrictive when it comes to abortions. Only a single clinic in St. Louis offers the procedure.
“We have to do anything we can to eliminate abortion, which is the moral wrong of our generation,” said Coleman, a Republican, who was elected in 2018 to represent a district southwest of St. Louis.
Coleman plans to file the bill in December or January, and she hasn’t decided on how much it will allow in monetary damages.
The implications of such efforts, some of which preceded Texas’ legislation, go beyond the issue of abortion.
This summer Coleman and other lawmakers in Missouri passed legislation that allows individuals to sue police departments that enforce federal gun laws that are not already written in state law. A federal law, for example, bans people convicted of particular domestic violence crimes from having guns. Opponents of the new Missouri law have said it could keep police from taking away firearms from state residents found guilty in domestic violence cases.
The bill, signed by Republican Gov. Mike Parson, says that laws “that infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment ... must be invalid in this state.”
In Tennessee, lawmakers passed a bill this year that facilitates employees, students and parents in suing for the “psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered” if a school lets a transgender individual in a bathroom when there are other people in it. The law requires schools to make a “single-occupancy restroom or changing facility” available for transgender people.