California Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed his “outrage” Saturday at a Supreme Court decision to allow the Texas six-week abortion ban to remain in effect and said he would use similar legal tactics to tackle gun control in his state.
“I am outraged by yesterday’s US Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place, and largely endorsing Texas’s scheme to insulate its law from the fundamental protections of Roe v. Wade,” Newsom said in a statement.
“But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way,” the statement continued.
The Friday ruling from the Supreme Court allowed Texas’ abortion law that bars the procedure after the first six weeks of pregnancy to remain in place but said abortion providers have the right to challenge the law in federal court. However, the ruling limits which state officials can be sued by the abortion providers, which could make it difficult for them to resume providing abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.
That is due to the law’s novel enforcement mechanism, which allows private citizens – from anywhere in the country – to bring civil suits against anyone who assists a pregnant person seeking an abortion in violation of the law.
If lower courts are only allowed to issue orders blocking the select state officials from enforcing the ban, it is unclear if that will be enough to allow clinics to resume the procedure, as they might still face state court litigation from private citizens seeking to enforce the ban.
In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, Newsom said he directed his staff to draft a bill that would allow private citizens to seek injunctive relief “against anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in the State of California.”
The bill would also provide for statutory damages of at least $10,000 in addition to attorney’s fees, the governor’s statement said.
“If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that,” Newsom said.
CNN’s Ariane de Vogue, Tierney Sneed and Jacqueline Rose contributed to this report.