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New Texas abortion law is becoming a model for other states

Kurtis Lee and Laweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Meanwhile, in Kansas, a new measure involves lawsuits over mask requirements and other public health measures related to COVID-19. The law, implemented this year, permits people to go to court over mandates on face coverings, business operation restrictions and limits on the sizes of public and religious gatherings.

And, last year, Utah lawmakers passed a pornography bill that allows individuals to sue websites that don’t have ample warning explaining how “obscene materials” affect minors. Pornography companies have protested the rule, saying it’s a violation of constitutional free speech rights.

Some conservative activists and politicians behind the Texas law say they are using tactics similar to those used by liberals on issues like immigration.

They have pointed to the “sanctuary city” movement, in which cities, mostly run by Democrats, have declared themselves to be friendlier toward immigrants because their law enforcement officers will not cooperate with federal immigration authorities by turning over individuals without proper legal documents who are in local jails. A key difference, however, is that sanctuary city declarations do not invite civil lawsuits by private parties who are uninvolved in immigration matters.

In addition, conservative activists have argued that they’ve modeled the Texas abortion bill on federal environmental and disability laws.

 

For decades, citizens have sued over public accommodations that don’t adhere to guidelines that allow access for people who are disabled. Many legal experts say those kinds of suits are not the same, however, because they typically require a person who files it to show how they have been harmed. Under the Texas law, any individual can sue.

New York state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, a Democrat who opposes the Texas measure, said in an interview that there are circumstances in which challenging federal laws make sense.

Myrie was behind a new law in the state that as of this summer allows people to file legal challenges against gun manufacturers for violence from firearms that were illegally smuggled into the state, bypassing broad immunity from suits that is given to those same manufacturers under federal law.

“Texas’ new law is ingenious in its cruelty, depriving women of needed reproductive health care and turning ordinary people into bounty hunters against their neighbors,” Myrie said. “Texas’ law obliterates an entire set of healthcare services and options, whereas in New York, responsible gun companies have nothing to fear from our new law — they don’t need special protection from lawsuits.”

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