A Doctor in Texas is being sued for bragging about violating the state’s “heartbeat” law on Saturday, which prohibits abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is discovered.
Former attorneys in Arkansas and Illinois filed lawsuits Monday against Dr. Alan Braid, who in a weekend Washington Post opinion column became the first Texas abortion provider to publicly reveal he violated the law that took effect on Sept. 1.
Under the law, the restriction can only be enforced through private lawsuits.
The law, called S.B. 8, allows private citizens to sue any individual who assists a woman in abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, even in cases of rape and incest. This includes partners who support the abortion process, friends who post tips online on where to get abortions, and Uber drivers who take women to abortion clinics. It also includes the doctors who perform the abortion itself.
Dr. Alan Braid, who practices obstetrics and gynecology in San Antonio, wrote an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Saturday:
“On the morning of September 6, I provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit. I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care.”
CBS News reports that two lawsuits have been filed, as a result.
Braid wrote in his Op-Ed, “I fully understood that there could be legal consequences — but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.”
Oscar Stilley of Arkansas, who filed suit against Braid, appeared to be testing the law as well.
Stilley’s lawsuit said, “On information and belief, Defendant has allowed his own personal ideology to cause him to violate the express provisions of Senate Bill 8, despite the potential consequences.”
He told CBS News that his lawsuit is an effort to have the law reviewed by the courts, he told CBS News.
Stilley said, “Let’s get a decision, and let’s not leave this floating out in never-never land so people don’t know what the law is.”
Pro-abortion groups’ efforts to block the law from taking effect on September 1 were failed after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to go into effect while legal challenges, including those from the Biden administration, work their way through the courts.
The CBS News reported that Felipe Gomez of Chicago has also filed a complaint against Braid, He wants the law to be examined by the court system, describing to himself as “pro-choice,” he also stated.
According to the Austin American-Statesman:
Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, called the lawsuits “self-serving legal stunts” and said Stilley and Gomez are “abusing the cause of action created in the Texas Heartbeat Act for their own purposes.”
From The New York Times, John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life said, “Neither of these lawsuits are valid attempts to save innocent human lives.”
He added that he and others at Texas Right to Life “believe Braid published his Op-Ed intending to attract imprudent lawsuits.”
Stilley said the law’s stipulation that those found guilty of violating it has to pay out $10,000 to the one suing them was attractive to him.
He said, “If this is a free-for-all, and it’s $10,000, I want my $10,000. And yes, I do aim to collect.”