Lauren Moye, FISM NEWS
Lawsuits involving Texas’ “heartbeat bill” have begun after a San Antonio physician publicly announced his defiance of the law, but the lawsuits are not from Republicans or pro-life organizations. Instead, the two separate plaintiffs both describe themselves as proponents of abortion.
The two lawsuits were opened in response to a Washington Post opinion piece. In this article, Dr. Alan Braid claimed to have performed a first-trimester abortion on Sept. 6, a full five days after the law came into effect. Braid wrote: “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.”
Texas S.B. 8 prevents the performance of an abortion if cardiac activity is detected on an ultrasound. This happens around the sixth week of pregnancy. Although abortion advocates tried to prevent the law from going into effect, the United States Supreme Court refused to rule on its constitutionality by the Sept. 1 deadline.
This allowed the legislation to take effect and, without another court challenge to potentially overthrow it, the bill officially became law in the state of Texas.
Braid’s opinion piece was dedicated to ensuring that someone would bring a lawsuit against him to once again bring the law to court. He made sure that readers knew that “anyone who suspects I have violated the new law can sue me for at least $10,000.”
The first plaintiff to file a lawsuit, Oscar Stilley, told the Associated Press, “I don’t want doctors out there nervous and sitting there and quaking in their boots and saying, ‘I can’t do this because if this thing works out, then I’m going to be bankrupt.”
Stilley, a disbarred attorney, is confined to his Arkansas residence. According to Reuters, he is currently serving his “12th year of a 15-year sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy.”
Felipe N. Gomez, a suspended Illinois lawyer, claimed to have been unaware of his chance to be awarded $10,000. Instead, he filed his lawsuit because he views the law as “a form of government overreach.”
“Neither of these lawsuits are valid attempts to save innocent human lives,” Kim Schwartz posted on behalf of Texas Right to Life, “Both cases are self-serving legal stunts, abusing the cause of action created in the Texas Heartbeat Act for their own purposes. We believe Braid published his op-ed intending to attract imprudent lawsuits, but none came from the Pro-Life movement.”
Texas Right to Life, meanwhile, has been prevented from filing lawsuits under SB8 due to a Sept. 13 court injunction by a Texas state judge.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has not commented on these lawsuits thus far.