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A proposed law places a $10K bounty on sexual abusers — taking a jab at Texas’ abortion “bounty hunters”

An Illinois state representative is proposing a law to allow anyone who is a victim of sexual assault or who has an unwanted pregnancy to sue the perpetrator for $10,000.
An Illinois state representative is proposing a law to allow anyone who is a victim of sexual...
An Illinois state representative is proposing a law to allow anyone who is a victim of sexual assault or who has an unwanted pregnancy to sue the perpetrator for $10,000.((Source: KAIT-TV))
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 11:13 PM EDT
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(CBS News) - Under Texas’ new abortion law, civilians can sue anyone who performs or helps a woman get an abortion for $10,000. Now, an Illinois state representative is proposing a law to flip that mandate — and allow anyone who is a victim of sexual assault or who has an unwanted pregnancy to sue the perpetrator for $10,000.

The proposed legislation is called The Expanding Abortion Services Act, otherwise called the “TEXAS Act,” and was proposed by State Representative Kelly Cassidy on Tuesday. According to a press release, the act was proposed to ensure that all Illinois citizens have a continued right to reproductive health services — and extend that right to those who travel from “jurisdictions seeking to restrict access to abortion and other reproductive health care.”

“When the Texas legislature, aided by the Untied States Supreme Court, declared open season on people seeking reproductive health care, it was very clear to me that our state is in a unique position to reach out our hands and offer people from Texas and other states who seek to restrict reproductive rights a safe haven,” Cassidy said.

Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation that became one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country. Victims of rape or incest are not excluded from the abortion ban. When asked about this, Abbott said the law does not force sexual abuse victims to carry their pregnancy to term because the law “provides at least 6 weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion.”

Along with banning abortions after six weeks, the new law allows state residents to sue clinics, health care workers and those who even so much as drive people to an abortion appointment for $10,000.

The Supreme Court voted to uphold the law, but in Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s scathing dissent, she said the legalized financial incentive in Texas “deputized the state’s citizens as bounty hunters.”

Under Cassidy’s proposal, those who either create an unintended pregnancy or engage in domestic violence or sexual assault can be sued for a minimum of $10,000. Half of that fine would go into a new state fund to help people “forced to flee their home states to seek reproductive health care.”

There are 14 co-sponsors of Cassidy’s proposed legislation.

“The measure in Texas is just one piece of the radical attempt to dismantle reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care across the nation,” Cassidy said. “I’m proud to come from a state that will uphold the fundamental right for a woman to make the best decision for her own health.”

Texas’ new law has garnered national backlash for its harsh measures.

The Department of Justice filed an emergency order this week, asking for a temporary halt on the law, saying it prevents people from “exercising their constitutional rights.”

“The Act harms the United States’ interest in ensuring that States do not evade their obligations under the Constitution and then try to insulate their actions from judicial review, as well as its interest in protecting the constitutional rights of women in its care and custody,” the filing said. “To allow States to circumvent the Federal Constitution in this manner would offend the basic federal nature of the Union. Thus, the unconstitutionality of S.B. 8 alone suffices to establish irreparable harm.”

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