Texas Judge Tosses Out Abortion “Bounty Hunter” Lawsuit

December 9, 2022

A Texas state judge in San Antonio on Thursday said he would toss out a lawsuit against a doctor who admitted to violating a state law barring abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy.

The law, known as Senate Bill 8 or SB 8, allows anyone to bring a lawsuit against someone who “aids or abets” in an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. But state District Judge Aaron Haas in Bexar County said people who have no connection to the prohibited abortion and have not been harmed by it do not have standing to bring these lawsuits.

“This is a significant win against S.B. 8′s bounty-hunting scheme because the court rejected the notion that Texas can allow a person with no connection to an abortion to sue,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a written statement.

When SB 8 went into effect in September 2021, it was the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. It was meant to ban abortions after the detection of fetal cardiac activity, usually around six weeks of pregnancy, a point at which many people don’t yet know they’re pregnant.

Dr. Alan Braid, a San Antonio doctor who had provided abortions in Texas since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, decided to intentionally violate the law in order to test the lawsuit aspect of it.

The court’s ruling does not overturn Texas’ 2021 law. In addition to the six-week ban, which is civilly enforced, Texas also operates under several criminal abortion bans that went into effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June. Doctors who provide abortions in Texas can face up to life in prison.

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