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April 13, 2023
On Monday, a Texas physician who admitted to intentionally violating the state’s near abortion ban was sued; the lawsuits mark the first that will test the constitutionality of the new law.
Alan Braid, a San Antonio physician, wrote an op-ed published on Sunday in which he confessed to intentionally violating the new Texas abortion ban that went into effect on the first of this month. Braid wrote that five days later “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.”
He continued, saying, “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. 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.”
He added later, “I understand that by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit, I am taking a personal risk, but it’s something I believe in strongly” (The Washington Post). Now that a suit has been filed, Braid’s personal risk may cost him $100,000.
Oscar Stilley, a man from Arkansas, is the plaintiff behind the complaint that was filed in Bexar County, Texas. He is requesting not only that Braid pay $100,000, but he is also asking for an injunction that would bar Braid from performing abortions in the future that violate the state law.
Stilley is a former lawyer who was disbarred and convicted of tax evasion in 2010; he is currently serving his 12th year of a 15-year sentence. In his filing, he notes that the Texas law does not have a provision preventing out-of-state felons from filing suits against abortion providers who are suspected of violating the law.
Stilley had an interview with CBS News Radio in which he said he filed the lawsuit because “I want justice to be done.” The suit additionally, Stilley said, is an effort to speed up the process of having the courts review the law. “Let’s get a decision, and let’s not leave this floating out in never-neverland so people don’t know what the law is,” he said.
A second suit against Braid was also filed on Monday by Felipe Gomez of Chicago. His lawsuit, however, seeks to have the Texas law declared unconstitutional. “Plaintiff alleges that Defendant did not violate Roe v Wade, and that the Act is illegal as written and as applied here until Roe v Wade is reversed or modified,” said the filing.
Gomez is not seeking any monetary compensation. Many abortion providers have sued to block the law, including the one Braid operates. The U.S. Supreme Court already ruled in a 5 to 4 decision to not block the law in response to an earlier petition from abortion providers (CBS News).
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC BOSTON