How a Texas man is testing out-of-state abortions by asking a court to subpoena his ex-partner

A Texas man is petitioning a court to authorize an obscure legal action to find out who allegedly helped his former partner obtain an out-of-state abortion, setting up the latest test of the reach of statewide abortion bans.

As some states work to expand abortion access and others impose more limits following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade, antiabortion activists have begun testing the boundaries of statewide bans in court. Abortion advocates call these legal actions a scare tactic, and stress that crossing state lines to obtain an abortion remains legal.

Both sides agree the Texas case could test the meaning of “leave it to the states,” a phrase echoed by former President Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

What is happening in Texas?

Documents pertaining to this Texas petition have been sealed by the court for the woman’s safety, but according to The Washington Post, which first reported the legal action, the man’s attorney is Jonathan Mitchell, a former Texas solicitor general and architect of Texas’ strict abortion ban. Representing the woman is the Center for Reproductive Rights and attorneys at Arnold and Porter.

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