Constitutional Law Expert Says Civil Lawsuit Provision In Texas Abortion Law ‘Bonkers’

The law allows anyone to sue an abortion provider, or anyone who helped a woman get an abortion, after detection of fetal cardiac activity – with a $10,000 incentive.

By Jill Ament, Kristen Cabrera & Caroline CovingtonJuly 15, 2021 3:22 pm, ,

Twenty abortion-rights groups are suing the state of Texas over a measure signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott that bans abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected – as early as five or six weeks into a pregnancy. The so-called fetal heartbeat bill, which is supposed to go into effect Sept. 1, also allows people to sue providers or anyone who helped a woman get an abortion, after that time.

Caroline Mala Corbin, a constitutional law professor at the University of Miami School of Law, told Texas Standard that the provision allowing for lawsuits is “quite novel and, frankly, a little bonkers.” She also says the law as a whole is “incontrovertibly unconstitutional” under existing Supreme Court decisions.

Highlights from this segment:

– Anyone can file a civil lawsuit against a person who either performed an abortion on a woman after detection of fetal cardiac activity, or anyone who helped a woman get an abortion after that milestone.

– The law provides a $10,000 incentive to anyone who successfully brings a lawsuit against anyone who assists with an abortion after the five- or six-week point.

– Potential frivolous lawsuits could become distracting for women’s health clinics, making it more difficult for them to perform their services.

– Texas’ law is more extreme than Mississippi’s law banning abortions after 15 weeks, which is being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.

– Groups challenging Texas’ law argue it’s unconstitutional because it bans abortions before a pregnancy is considered “viable,” at around 24 weeks.

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