Court Battles

Texas doctor sued after admitting to violating state’s new abortion law

A doctor in Texas who admitted to performing an abortion in violation of the state’s new law was sued on Monday, marking the first case that will test the constitutionality of the more restrictive measure.

An Arkansas man filed a complaint against Alan Braid, a San Antonio physician, as a way to test a portion of the new law that allows private citizens to enforce the ban on abortions performed after six weeks of pregnancy.

Braid said he performed the abortion five days after the Texas law went into effect earlier this month because he believed he had “a duty of care to this patient.”

Oscar Stilley — the plaintiff behind the complaint, which was filed in Bexar County, Texas — is requesting that Braid pay $100,000 for violating the Texas abortion law. He is also asking for an injunction that would bar Braid from performing future abortions that are in violation of the state law.

San Antonio is located within Bexar County.

Stilley wrote in the complaint that Braid “knowingly performed this abortion contrary to the clear and unmistakable provisions of Senate Bill 8,” which went into effect earlier this month.

The bill bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy — and it allows most private citizens to file lawsuits against abortion providers if they believe they may be infringing on the new law.

Successful lawsuits could receive as much as $10,000.

Stilley — who is currently in home confinement and serving the 12th year of a 15-year federal sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy charges, according to the complaint — wrote that he called the defendant’s office on Monday to ask if he would express regret for his actions and agree to not perform additional abortions in violation of the Texas law.

“Plaintiff on the morning on September 20, 2021 placed a call to the office of Defendant, to inquire whether or not Defendant might repent of his ideology as well as his deeds, and agree never to perform another abortion contrary to the enactments of the Texas legislature in general, and the requirements of Senate Bill 8 in particular,” the complaint reads.

The complaint says the plaintiff “wasn’t able to secure any such agreement despite respectful efforts.”

Braid, who started his obstetrics and gynecology residency at a San Antonio hospital in 1972, wrote in an op-ed pushed by The Washington Post that in the year before the Supreme Court made its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade — which recognized abortion as a constitutional right — he saw “three teenagers die from illegal abortions.”

“For me, it is 1972 all over again,” he wrote, referring to the Texas abortion law.

Stilley, in an interview with the Post after filing the complaint, said he is not personally opposed to abortion but believes the measure should be tested through judicial review.

“If the law is no good, why should we have to go through a long, drawn-out process to find out if it’s garbage?” Stilley said.

He also pointed to the portion of the law that allows as much as $10,000 for successful lawsuits in connection to the abortion restrictions.

“If the state of Texas decided it’s going to give a $10,000 bounty, why shouldn’t I get that 10,000 bounty?” Stilley said.

The lawsuit comes after the Supreme Court earlier this month denied an emergency request from abortion providers requesting that the law be blocked, dealing a blow to Democrats and abortion advocates.

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