Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

A woman speaks in support of abortion rights

An activist speaks outside the Supreme Court in protest against the new Texas abortion law on September 2, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

'Tip of the Iceberg': GOP-Led States Eye Texas Model to Attack Abortion Rights

Republican lawmakers in Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, and other states have expressed interest in turning private citizens into deputized vigilantes to halt women's reproductive freedoms.

Julia Conley

Republican lawmakers and governors in several states are planning or considering forced-birth legislation mirroring Senate Bill 8 in Texas, which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to go into effect this week—stunning and angering abortion providers and rights advocates across the country.

In a number of states where extreme anti-choice bills have been blocked by courts in recent years, far-right legislators are seeing the court's decision as tacit approval of future laws that, like S.B. 8, would authorize private citizens to sue anyone who aids someone in obtaining abortion care after six weeks of pregnancy, enabling plaintiffs to win at least $10,000 in court and getting around Roe vs. Wade by keeping the state government itself from enforcing the bans.

"This is not a 'What happens in Texas stays in Texas' situation."
—Kristin Ford, NARAL Pro-Choice America

"This is not a 'What happens in Texas stays in Texas' situation," Kristin Ford, acting vice president of communications and research at NARAL Pro-Choice America, told HuffPost on Wednesday. "There's also the very real threat that this has a domino effect in other states that are hellbent on ending legal abortion."
Florida State Sen. Wilton Simpson, the Republican president of the chamber, said Thursday that the Supreme Court's refusal to block S.B. 8 was "encouraging."
"I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at the Texas law and see if there is more we can do here in Florida," Simpson said, while GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis said the Texas Republicans' approach to banning abortion care was "interesting" and something he would look at "more significantly."
With the Supreme Court effectively rendering Roe vs. Wade terminated in Texas for most people seeking an abortion while lower courts consider the law, the pro-choice research group Guttmacher Institute said S.B. 8 was "the tip of the iceberg."
Abortion providers in states including Tennessee and Mississippi expressed fear on Thursday that their Republican governors would push for similar laws; in both states, forced-birth legislation has been blocked by courts in recent years, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year on Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban—a decision which could overturn the precedent set by Roe.
Jennifer Pepper, executive director of the women's healthcare center Choices in Memphis, told the Washington Post she was "quite terrified" that Gov. Bill Lee and state GOP legislators will try to model a new bill on S.B. 8.
Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel told the Associated Press that he would "absolutely" be filing legislation modeled on the Texas law.

"It's not a matter of whether that could be the end of Roe; it would be the end of Roe," Laurie Bertram Roberts, co-founder of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, told the Post. "What's going on in Texas and Mississippi is that they are showing their hands. It's a clear tell as to where the end game is."

The AP reported that legislators in Arkansas, Indiana, North Dakota, and South Dakota are considering new laws deputizing private citizens to enforce abortion bans, and reproductive rights groups told Politico that they expect similar bills to be proposed in Arizona, South Carolina, and Ohio.

The laws could have the effect of intimidating providers out of offering abortion care and patients out of seeking care, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
"It creates a situation in which, even if the defendants were to win every single case, the burden of having to defend themselves, of getting attorneys, of having to go to around to rural courts across Texas' 258 counties—that alone threatens to stop the provision of abortion across the state," Marc Hearron, senior counsel with the organization, told Politico.
"The sooner anti-choice lawmakers act on this signal, the harder it will be for providers to survive the litigation wars to come," tweeted journalist Jay Willis.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·

Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Arbitrary, Racist, and Unfair': Judge Blocks Biden From Ending Title 42

"Only the coyotes profiteering off of people seeking protection have reason to celebrate this ill-reasoned ruling," said one migrant rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

'This Is a War' for Democratic Party's Future, Says Sanders of AIPAC's Super PAC

"They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country," said the senator.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo