Doctor Who Performed Abortion Being Sued in Order to Challenge Controversial Texas Law in Court

Dr. Alan Braid wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed that he defied the highly restrictive abortion law because he had a "duty of care to this patient" and "she has a fundamental right to receive this care"

Pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Austin, TX.
Pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores For The Washington Post via Getty

A Texas doctor 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 a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday, Dr. Alan Braid, an OB/GYN, wrote about his decades-long career offering vital health care to women, revealing that he recently defied Texas' ban on abortions that went into effect earlier this month.

"... 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," said Braid.

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"I fully understood that there could be legal consequences," he continued, "but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn't get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested."

The controversial law essentially eliminates the rights of Roe v. Wade. The bill prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is before most people even know they're pregnant. The bill does not allow exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of incest or rape.

Now, two plaintiffs have brought cases against Braid, multiple outlets report, with the goal of having a court of law decide that the Texas ban is unconstitutional.

Under the law, private citizens can sue abortion clinics they suspect of performing illegal abortions after six weeks, as well as anyone who aided in an abortion, including driving someone to an appointment or helping them with the cost. If the lawsuit is successful, they will be awarded a minimum of $10,000.

Pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Austin, TX.
Pro-choice protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 1, in Austin, Texas. Sergio Flores For The Washington Post via Getty

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According to court documents obtained by CNN, Illinois resident Felipe N. Gomez filed a lawsuit against Braid on Monday, calling himself as a "Pro Choice Plaintiff" and calling on "the Court to declare that the Act is Unconstitutional, and in violation of Roe v Wade." The doc adds, "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."

Additionally, the Washington Post reported that a man named Oscar Stilley filed a lawsuit as well, referring to himself in court documents obtained by the outlet as a "disbarred and disgraced former Arkansas lawyer."

"I am a supporter of the Constitution, and I am opposed to the law," Stilley told CNN, adding that he wants a "judge to make a ruling on" the law. "I think the doctor has guts and he has principle, and I decided that I would be the one to get some clarity on this law."

Stilley said to the Washington Post, "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?"

Braid is being represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, according to CNN. Nancy Northup, the organization's president, told the news outlet, "Dr. Braid has been providing health care, reproductive health care, to women for almost five decades, and he's used to being able to give his patients options, and with the Texas law in place, he is having to turn most of his patients away. The options that he has for them are untenable."

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The anti-abortion organization Texas Right to Life said in a statement that the lawsuits 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."

Abortion providers in Texas have already attempted to stop the bill, asking the Supreme Court to issue an emergency block last month before it went into effect. They argued that the law "would immediately and catastrophically reduce abortion access in Texas, barring care for at least 85 percent of Texas abortion patients (those who are six weeks pregnant or greater) and likely forcing many abortion clinics ultimately to close."

The court voted 5 to 4 against the request, allowing the law to remain in effect.

Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement at the time, "This decision is not the last word on Roe v. Wade, and we will not stand by and allow our nation to go back to the days of 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."

The Supreme Court is expected to take up Texas and other states' challenges to Roe v. Wade when they're back in session in October.

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