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A Texas doctor is being sued in two separate trials for illegal abortion under new Texas law that almost bans the procedure. But one of the plaintiffs says he is not against abortion, and the other’s complaint aims to make the state’s new abortion restrictions unconstitutional.
Dr. Alan Braid, a San Antonio gynecologist, admitted in a column published by the Washington Post on Saturday that he had performed a prohibited abortion earlier this month, motivated by “a duty of care.” While “there might be legal ramifications,” he said, “he wanted to make sure Texas couldn’t get away with trying to test this blatantly unconstitutional law.” No other lawsuits have been publicly announced, although it is unclear whether other lawsuits could have been filed as they could appear in court anywhere in the state.
At least two lawsuits have been filed against Braid, both by disqualified attorneys. One was filed by Felipe N. Gomez of Illinois, who identified himself as a “Pro Choice Plaintiff”. and joins Braid in the lawsuit, KSAT reported. In the lawsuit, Gomez is not asking for monetary damages, but instead asks the court to “declare the law unconstitutional and violate Roe v Wade,” the broadcaster said.
The plaintiff in the other lawsuit filed on Monday is Oscar Stilley, according to a copy of the lawsuit he posted online. Bexar County court records show that he and Gomez filed lawsuits against Braid on Monday, but district officials did not provide copies of the lawsuits online. The Bexar District Secretariat office did not respond to a call.
The law allows anyone in the country to sue people who can “assist” someone who has an abortion once fetal heart activity is detected – which can occur after as little as six weeks. The plaintiff would receive at least $ 10,000 if they won the case, but even if it were dismissed, the law prevents defendants from getting their legal fees back from the person who filed the lawsuit – thereby putting the plaintiff at risk is minimized.
“I understand that I am taking a personal risk if I attempt an abortion beyond the new legal limit, but I firmly believe in it,” Braid wrote in The Post column. “I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an integral part of health care. … I can’t just sit back and watch as we go back to 1972. “
In the copy of the lawsuit that he published, Stilley described himself as an “unfit and disgraced former Arkansas attorney”. Stilley, who was convicted of tax fraud in 2010, is suing Braid for $ 100,000.
Stilley said in an interview that he is not personally against abortion and he thinks the law is not necessarily good. However, he said he wanted the $ 10,000 and would seek advice from anti-abortion organizations on how best to argue his case. If the law is broken, he counts it as a win to find out if the lawsuit is valid or not.
“I’m not going to let this fester to frighten the doctors. I want a quick and honest decision,” he said. “Let’s find out if this thing is the law … if it is, let’s live by it, if not, let’s put it down.”
Stilley said he expected this case to be referred to an appeals court and possibly the US Supreme Court. Braid and Gomez did not immediately respond to interview requests.
Many legal experts have said they are waiting to see how a lawsuit could review the law in court.
The near-total abortion ban in Texas depends on individuals – not state officials or law enforcement – to enforce it. This has so far enabled the law to set the precedents of Roe v. Wade and subsequent court rulings as there is no clear defendant in court proceedings to name.
The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the law, but has allowed the ban to remain in place, citing procedural difficulties. A hearing on a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking enforcement of the ban is scheduled for October 1.
Meanwhile, the law has stopped most abortions in the state, with large clinics canceling appointments or even suspending all abortions – including those allowed by law – for fear of legal proceedings.
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