"So far, it’s working," Netter said in arguing for a preliminary injunction against the statute and the state. "Its ploy to keep S.B. 8 out of court is an open threat to the rule of law ... S.B. 8 imperils the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution."
Netter said the private-enforcement scheme is designed to scare abortion providers into refusing to aid women who want to exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
"It's designed to work through the turrets," he said, apparently suggesting that the threats the law creates are deliberately hidden and unpredictable.
Soon after the law took effect on Sept. 1, the Supreme Court voted, 5-4, to decline a bid by abortion providers to block it. However, the justices signaled doubts about the constitutionality of the so-called heartbeat law, which seeks to ban abortions performed after a fetus reaches six weeks of gestational age — when cardiac activity is typically detected. The high court also left open the possibility of further legal action.