Law & the Courts

Texas Doctor who Defied Abortion Law Is Sued by Arkansas Man

(Pornpak Khunatorn/Getty Images)

An Arkansas man filed a lawsuit on Monday against a doctor in Texas who has admitted to performing an abortion that is illegal under a new state law that bans the procedure after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Alan Braid, who owns Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services, wrote in an essay for the Washington Post last week that he had violated the law by providing an abortion to a woman who was in the early stages of pregnancy. He defended his actions, claiming he had done his duty as a doctor and that the woman “has a fundamental right to receive this care.”

“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,” he wrote. 

Oscar Stilley, a former lawyer in Arkansas who was convicted of tax fraud in 2010, filed a lawsuit in Texas state court against Braid to test the constitutionality of the law, according to the 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?” said Stilley, who told the paper he is not opposed to abortion but believes the law should be subject to judicial review.

The controversial legislation allows any individual to sue anyone who knowingly performs or aids an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Plaintiffs can earn up to $10,000 in damages through litigation.

“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.

Braid’s clinics are represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“S.B. 8 says that ‘any person’ can sue over a violation, and we are starting to see that happen, including by out-of-state claimants,” said Marc Hearron, the group’s senior counsel.

The lawsuit comes after the Biden administration sued Texas earlier this month in an effort to block the law. There is a hearing in that case scheduled for October 1.

The Department of Justice claimed in its filing that the state had passed the law “to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights.”

“This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States,” the department said in its brief.

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