“a few jurisdictions in Texas are now breaking with this consensus. As the Washington Post reports, two Texas counties and two Texas cities have passed local ordinances making it illegal to transport someone through one of these counties or cities for the purpose of obtaining an out-of-state abortion.
Notably, this list of anti-abortion localities includes Mitchell County, Texas, a sparse community of about 9,000 people. This matters because Interstate 20, the route that many people traveling from Dallas to New Mexico to receive an abortion will take, passes through Mitchell County. Several other counties with major highways or airports are also considering similar laws.
These ordinances and proposed ordinances largely track model legislation, which anti-abortion activist Mark Lee Dickson shared on Twitter, that is itself modeled after SB 8 — the statewide anti-abortion law that allows private bounty hunters to sue abortion providers and collect bounties of $10,000 or more.
In fairness, Dickson’s model legislation does prohibit such bounty hunter suits from being filed against “the pregnant woman who seeks to abort her unborn child.” But the legislation would potentially allow abortion funds that help pay for abortion care, or anyone who drives a pregnant patient to an out-of-state abortion clinic, to be sued.
Ordinarily, Kavanaugh’s preemptive rejection of travel bans would be a clear sign that these laws will not survive judicial review. But, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson (2021), the Supreme Court effectively shut down federal lawsuits challenging unconstitutional laws that are enforced solely by bounty hunters. And Kavanaugh joined the Court’s decision in Jackson.
The upshot is that these unconstitutional Texas ordinances may succeed, not because they are lawful but because the Supreme Court has largely immunized them from constitutional review.”