'Bonkers': MAGA lawmaker turns to Texas vigilantism for bill banning women from leaving Missouri for abortions
A far right Missouri state representative and pro-Trump acolyte is using a Texas vigilante legal theory in a novel manner to effectively ban women from leaving her state to obtain abortions in nearby Illinois – or any other state.
State Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, who last year made headlines for wanting to name a portion. of a highway after the disgraced former president, is filing a bill that allows anyone in the country to sue if a Missouri resident leaves the state to access abortion services.
Rep. Coleman’s legislation “would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident obtain an abortion out of state, using the novel legal strategy behind the restrictive law in Texas that since September has banned abortions in that state after six weeks of pregnancy,” The Washington Post reports.
The Post calls Coleman a “prominent antiabortion lawmaker” but she’s actually the former attorney for a far right-wing anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ group, the Thomas More Society.
Her official state bio tells her story a bit differently: “In addition to serving in the legislature, her most important job is being a wife and mother. She and her husband, Christopher Coleman, have been married for seventeen years and have six children. Mary Elizabeth practices law at Thomas More Society, a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty.”
Coleman’s bill “would target anyone even tangentially involved in an abortion performed on a Missouri resident, including the hotline staffers who make the appointments, the marketing representatives who advertise out-of-state clinics, and the Illinois and Kansas-based doctors who handle the procedure. Her amendment also would make it illegal to manufacture, transport, possess or distribute abortion pills in Missouri.”
Presumably, anyone involved in transporting someone from Missouri to Illinois, too, would become a criminal in the eyes of the state of Missouri, which poses additional constitutional issues.
“Olivia Cappello, the press officer for state media campaigns at Planned Parenthood, called the idea ‘wild’ and ‘bonkers.’ She called the proposal ‘the most extraordinary provision we have ever seen.'”