Roe v. Wade famously named Dallas County DA Henry Wade (right) as its defendant, because he was the official charged with enforcement of the criminal statute at issue. The Texas Legislature has passed a new abortion law — a “heartbeat bill” — that features a novel enforcement procedure involving private litigants. The statute disclaims any public enforcement, relying on a private right of action against abortion providers that features an extremely broad definition of standing. The Texas Tribune correctly notes that the Fifth Circuit’s en banc opinion in Okpalobi v. Foster, 244 F.3d 501 (5th Cir. 2001), declined to extend Ex Parte Young (left) to a Louisiana statute that created a somewhat-analogous private cause of action against abortion providers. Assuming that the Governor signs the new Texas law, Okpalobi will likely be cited frequently in federal-court challenges to it. (I recently did a an interview with Fox 4’s “Good Day” about this new law.)

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