Current through the 87th Legislature (2021) Second Special Session
Section 171.208 - Civil Liability For Violation Or Aiding Or Abetting Violation(a) Any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a civil action against any person who: (1) performs or induces an abortion in violation of this subchapter; (2) knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this subchapter; or (3) intends to engage in the conduct described by Subdivision (1) or (2). (b) If a claimant prevails in an action brought under this section, the court shall award: (1) injunctive relief sufficient to prevent the defendant from violating this subchapter or engaging in acts that aid or abet violations of this subchapter; (2) statutory damages in an amount of not less than $10,000 for each abortion that the defendant performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, and for each abortion performed or induced in violation of this subchapter that the defendant aided or abetted; and (3) costs and attorney's fees. (c) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), a court may not award relief under this section in response to a violation of Subsection (a)(1) or (2) if the defendant demonstrates that the defendant previously paid the full amount of statutory damages under Subsection (b)(2) in a previous action for that particular abortion performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, or for the particular conduct that aided or abetted an abortion performed or induced in violation of this subchapter. (d) Notwithstanding Chapter 16, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, or any other law, a person may bring an action under this section not later than the fourth anniversary of the date the cause of action accrues. (e) Notwithstanding any other law, the following are not a defense to an action brought under this section: (1) ignorance or mistake of law; (2) a defendant's belief that the requirements of this subchapter are unconstitutional or were unconstitutional; (3) a defendant's reliance on any court decision that has been overruled on appeal or by a subsequent court, even if that court decision had not been overruled when the defendant engaged in conduct that violates this subchapter; (4) a defendant's reliance on any state or federal court decision that is not binding on the court in which the action has been brought; (5) non-mutual issue preclusion or non-mutual claim preclusion; (6) the consent of the unborn child's mother to the abortion; or (7) any claim that the enforcement of this subchapter or the imposition of civil liability against the defendant will violate the constitutional rights of third parties, except as provided by Section 171.209. (f) It is an affirmative defense if: (1) a person sued under Subsection (a)(2) reasonably believed, after conducting a reasonable investigation, that the physician performing or inducing the abortion had complied or would comply with this subchapter; or (2) a person sued under Subsection (a)(3) reasonably believed, after conducting a reasonable investigation, that the physician performing or inducing the abortion will comply with this subchapter. (f-1) The defendant has the burden of proving an affirmative defense under Subsection (f)(1) or (2) by a preponderance of the evidence. (g) This section may not be construed to impose liability on any speech or conduct protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, as made applicable to the states through the United States Supreme Court's interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, or by Section 8, Article I, Texas Constitution. (h) Notwithstanding any other law, this state, a state official, or a district or county attorney may not intervene in an action brought under this section. This subsection does not prohibit a person described by this subsection from filing an amicus curiae brief in the action. (i) Notwithstanding any other law, a court may not award costs or attorney's fees under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure or any other rule adopted by the supreme court under Section 22.004, Government Code, to a defendant in an action brought under this section. (j) Notwithstanding any other law, a civil action under this section may not be brought by a person who impregnated the abortion patient through an act of rape, sexual assault, incest, or any other act prohibited by Sections 22.011, 22.021, or 25.02, Penal Code.
Tex. Health and Safety Code § 171.208Added by Acts 2021, Texas Acts of the 87th Leg. - Regular Session, ch. TBD,Sec. 3, eff. 9/1/2021.