Two men, one from Arkansas and one from Illinois, are suing a Texas doctor who admittedly performed an abortion under the new Texas abortion law. But why are they suing the doctor?
According to David Goodman at The New York Times, the man from Arkansas is named Oscar Stilley. Stilley is reportedly a “disbarred and disgraced” former lawyer.
His reasoning for filing the lawsuit against the doctor? Because he wants to “test the provisions of the law.”
So what exactly does this new Texas abortion law do and what doesn’t it do?
According to the Associated Press, under the new strict abortion law, it “prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks.” The issue with this is that many women don’t even know they are pregnant before the six-week mark.
As the AP continues to report, such a law has been blocked by the courts countless times before. So why did it, all of a sudden, gain support from the Supreme Court in May?
Well, there is somewhat of a loophole. According to the law, the state does not and cannot enforce the law. The law leaves it up to private citizens anywhere in the United States to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers or someone who “aids and abets” a woman getting an abortion.
The law does not allow the woman to be sued. Now, both the man in Arkansas and the man in Illinois are testing the limits of the new law.
As Stilley said in an interview with The New York Times, “I’m not pro-life. The thing that I’m trying to vindicate here is the law. We pride ourselves on being a nation of laws. What’s the law?”
Stilley, who has been to prison and is currently confined to his home after being convicted of tax evasion and conspiracy further added that “I’m going to get an answer either way. If this is a free-for-all, and it’s $10,000, I want my $10,000. And yes, I do aim to collect.”
Felipe N. Gomez is also pro-choice. However, he has not yet provided a public statement regarding his decision to file a lawsuit against Dr. Alan Braid.
In his op-ed published in The Washington Post, Dr. Braid revealed that since the abortion law, or Senate Bill 8, has gone into effect, he has performed an abortion.
In his op-ed, he described how in his first year as a doctor he saw three teenagers die in the hospital where he worked. All three of those teenagers died because they sought out abortions, which were entirely illegal in Texas unless the woman was suicidal or they had the means to travel to a different state where abortions were allowed.
This was in 1972. “In medical school in Texas, we’d been taught that abortion was an integral part of women’s health care. When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973, recognizing abortion as a constitutional right, it enabled me to do the job I was trained to do,” Dr. Braid wrote.
As Dr. Braid admitted in his op-ed, when the Supreme Court allowed Senate Bill 8 to pass, for him, “it was 1972 all over again.” But regardless of the law, Braid took an oath to provide adequate care to his patients. So that’s what he did.
“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.”
He did this fully understanding the consequences. He also did it knowing that this law needed to be tested.
And that is seemingly what these men in different states are doing as well. And those who are from Texas and are pro-life are not happy about it.
“Neither of these lawsuits are valid attempts to save innocent human lives. Both cases are self-serving legal stunts, abusing the cause of action created in the Texas Heartbeat Act for their own purposes,” John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, which lobbied for the new abortion law, told The NYT.
Seago also pushed that he believes “Braid published his Op-Ed intending to attract imprudent lawsuits.” Those representing Dr. Braid say he has not yet been served. He also declined any interviews.
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