32 minutes | May 19, 2022

The untold story of the Texas abortion ban

A year ago today, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Texas Senate Bill 8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act. The law bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy — before many people even know they’re pregnant. It also employed a novel legal strategy that empowered ordinary people to enforce the law by suing anyone who may have helped facilitate the abortion.

Many observers thought the law would be blocked from taking effect or overturned after passing. That didn’t happen. The Supreme Court had three opportunities to consider the law and didn’t, signaling that the court could be open to overturning Roe v. Wade

In the recent uproar over the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, it’s been easy to forget about the impact and significance of Texas’s law. But a year later the law still stands in the state, blocking abortions after about six weeks. 

Today on Post Reports, on the anniversary of the Texas abortion ban, national political reporter Caroline Kitchener brings us the story of the activist who helped to craft the law, the doctor who tried to challenge it, and the lessons both sides have taken away from its success.

Read more:

Caroline Kitchener examines whether a national abortion ban is possible in a post-Roe world. 

You can also read her profile of Dr. Alan Braid

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