The Texas doctor who performed an abortion in defiance of the state's new "heartbeat law" said he wanted to make sure the law was tested in court. He's getting his wish. Two lawsuits have been filed against Dr. Alan Braid, the first tests of the legislation, the Wall Street Journal reports. Neither of the plaintiffs lives in Texas; they separately read Braid's op-ed about his act and filed civil complaints Monday in response. Both are representing themselves, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
Oscar Stilley, a former Arkansas lawyer, says it was inevitable that someone was going to sue Braid and get $10,000 if the suit is successful, so it may as well be him. He says he is neither pro-choice nor anti-abortion and is not associated with any groups on either side, but that he believes the Texas law is attempting to get around established law and he wants to see it tested in court. He also says the Texas law states that anyone (even an out-of-state, disbarred ex-lawyer on home confinement after being convicted of tax fraud in 2010) can sue, not just Texas residents.
Felipe N. Gomez, who lives in Illinois, says he's pro-choice and thinks the law is illegal. His suit asks the court to strike it down and says he does not want any money. Gomez says he's also against mask and vaccine mandates for COVID-19, and that the GOP, which agrees with him on those things, is "inconsistent" in wanting to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. Interestingly, KSAT reports Gomez is also a former lawyer who was disbarred after allegations he sent harassing and threatening emails to other attorneys.
Meanwhile, the Texas Right to Life group hasn't sued Braid, because he didn't say in his op-ed whether he had checked for a heartbeat before performing the procedure, and it calls the two suits that were filed "self-serving legal stunts." Some anti-abortion activists had warned followers not to sue after Braid's op-ed because that's exactly what he wanted. The Center for Reproductive Rights, a national abortion-rights group, is representing Braid, who has not commented since the suits were filed, the Washington Post reports. (Read more Texas stories.)