Testing The Law: Texas Abortion Doc Boasts Of Abortions He Did After 'Heartbeat' Bill

Written By BlabberBuzz | Thursday, 23 September 2021 01:15

A Texas doctor who publicly acknowledged he performed an abortion was sued on Monday in state court by two different plaintiffs, handing Texas the first tests of its new abortion law.

The Texas law bans abortions after about six weeks of gestation when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and it deputizes private citizens to sue anyone they believe may have aided such a procedure and collect $10,000. Under the law, the restriction can only be enforced through private lawsuits.

The new law went into effect Sept. 1.

Alan Braid, a San Antonio physician, wrote in a Washington Post opinion essay Saturday that he had performed an abortion in defiance of the law earlier this month.

Legal experts say Braid's admission is likely to set up another test of whether the law can stand after the Supreme Court allowed it to take effect.

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"Being sued puts him in a position ... that he will be able to defend the action against him by saying the law is unconstitutional," said Carol Sanger, a law professor at Columbia University in New York City.

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A former Arkansas lawyer, Oscar Stilley, who is on home confinement serving time after a tax-fraud conviction, filed a civil complaint against the doctor Monday in Bexar County District Court. He noted that he decided to sue the doctor after he read about the case early Monday morning and wanted to test the Texas law.

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"The doctor is going to get sued," Mr. Stilley declared. "Someone is going to get $10,000 off him. If that’s the law, I may as well get the money. If it’s not the law, let’s go to court and get it sorted out."

Mr. Stilley insisted he is neither antiabortion nor in favor of abortion rights, and not affiliated with any abortion-related political groups.

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"I don't want doctors out there nervous and sitting there and quaking in their boots and saying, 'I can't do this because if this thing works out, then I'm going to be bankrupt,'" Stilley, of Cedarville, Arkansas, told The Associated Press.

In a separate lawsuit, Felipe N. Gomez, an Illinois resident who is described in his filing as a "pro-choice plaintiff" filed a complaint Monday morning in Bexar County. While the complaint is personally against Dr. Braid, it says Mr. Gomez believes the Texas law to be illegal and asks a court to strike it down. He said that he wasn’t interested in collecting any money.

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"I’m against having someone tell me I have to get a shot or wear a mask and the same people who agree with me on that—the GOP—tell people what they can do with their bodies on the other hand," Mr. Gomez said. "It’s inconsistent."

Dr. Braid couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. He wrote in his essay that he understood he could face legal consequences for the abortion he performed. "I wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested," he went on to note.

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