Texas OB/GYN sued in ‘show’ case of state’s new ‘heartbeat’ policy
The hope is that a judge will declare the policy in violation of Roe v. Wade.
Dr. Alan Braid, an OB/GYN from Texas who publicly came forward about performing an abortion in violation of the state’s new highly restrictive law is being sued, with the plaintiffs hoping to show in court that the legislation is unconstitutional.
In an op-ed that Braid published in the Washington Post on Saturday, Sept. 18, he wrote about his decades-long career providing essential health care to women, and admitted that he recently refused to obey Texas’ ban on abortions that went into effect earlier this month.
A San Antonio doctor who said he performed an abortion in defiance of the new Texas law has been sued by 2 former attorneys, one in Arkansas and another in Illinois, who are seeking to test the legality of the ban.https://t.co/kZzVPLHfl3
— NPR (@NPR) September 21, 2021
“On the morning of Sept. 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,” Braid wrote.
Braid was well aware of the legal consequences that could potentially follow his actions, but he was determined to ensure that Texas didn’t get away with its attempt to prevent the “blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.”
If the Supreme Court had blocked SB8, Dr. Braid wouldn’t have to put everything on the line just to care for one of his patients.
Abortion is health care. Abortion is a right. Thank you to all of the heroic providers in Texas.https://t.co/6sC4gxMJPG
— ACLU (@ACLU) September 21, 2021
Under the new law, private citizens can sue abortion clinics they suspect of performing illegal abortions after six weeks, and anyone who aided in the procedure, including simply driving someone to an appointment or offering financial assistance. If the lawsuit is successful, they will be awarded a minimum of $10,000.
According to court documents obtained by CNN, Illinois resident Felipe N. Gomez filed a lawsuit against Braid on Monday, labeling himself as a “Pro Choice Plaintiff” and urging the court to declare that the Act is in violation of Roe v. Wade.
A man named Oscar Stilley has filed a lawsuit as well, referring to himself in court documents obtained by the Washington Post as a “disbarred and disgraced former Arkansas lawyer.”
Stilley told CNN that he supports the Constitution and is opposed to Texas’ restrictive law, adding that he would like to see a judge “make a ruling” on the law.
“I think the doctor has guts and he has principles, and I decided that I would be the one to get some clarity on this law,” he said.
Nancy Northup, and attorney for Dr. Alan Braid who says he violated Texas's new abortion law and is now facing lawsuits, says her client is taking the risk because he believes the law is "blatantly unconstitutional." pic.twitter.com/g7dfvEZrda
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 21, 2021
Braid is being represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights. Nancy Northup, the organization’s president, told CNN that Braid has been providing reproductive healthcare for almost five decades, and with the new law in place, he has had to turn most of his patients away.
The anti-abortion organization Texas Right to Life said in a statement that these lawsuits are for “self-serving” purposes, and that Braid published his op-ed with the intention to attract the ill-considered lawsuits.
Abortion providers in the state have already tried to stop the bill, requesting that the Supreme Court issue an emergency block last month before it went into effect, but the Court voted against it.
At the time, Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement that the decision is “not the last word on Roe v. Wade” and that the nation will not go back to the days of dangerous “back-alley” abortions.
“We will not abide by cash incentives for virtual vigilantes and intimidation for patients. We will use every lever of our Administration to defend the right to safe and legal abortion —and to strengthen that right,” Harris said.
The Supreme Court is expected to take up Texas and other states' challenges to Roe v. Wade when they're back in session next month.