As expected, civil lawsuits have been filed against the Texas doctor Dr. Alan Braid who publicly announced that he had violated the new state law that placed such restrictions on abortions that it effectively banned the practice entirely. The law had apparently not specified that one had to be a resident of Texas to file the case and the two lawsuits (so far) have been brought by one person in Arkansas and one person in Illinois. The latter says he is actually pro-choice and his lawsuit was being pursued with the intention of showing that the law is unconstitutional.
After a Texas doctor shared over the weekend why he violated the state’s six-week abortion ban, a disbarred lawyer in Arkansas and an Illinois man on Monday filed lawsuits against him, highlighting the bizarre enforcement mechanism that allowed the law to go into effect earlier this month.
Oscar Stilley, who is currently serving a 15-year federal sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy from home confinement, asked for $100,000 in his complaint filed in the district court of Bexar County, Texas.
In another lawsuit against Braid that was filed Monday, Illinois-based lawyer Felipe N. Gomez identified himself as a “Pro-Choice Plaintiff.” In the lawsuit, which was first reported by KSAT, he asked that SB 8 be ruled unconstitutional because it violates Roe v. Wade.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Gomez for comment.
But Stilley’s and Gomez’s cases reveal how broadly the state law can be applied and how virtually anyone can pursue legal steps against abortion providers should they suspect that SB 8 was violated.
Stilley said in the complaint he called Braid on Monday morning and asked if he “might repent of his ideology,” but the doctor did not return the call. The Arkansas man has now requested an injunction prohibiting Braid from performing any abortions in violation of the state law in addition to being paid at least $100,000. Gomez did not seek any financial reward in his respective suit.
In a different interview, Stilley admitted that he was not personally opposed to abortion but that he could use the $10,000 bounty.
Oscar Stilley, a former lawyer convicted of tax fraud in 2010 and serving a 15-year sentence on home confinement, told the paper that, though he is not personally opposed to abortion, he thinks the measure should be subject to judicial review.
“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?” Stilley told the Post after filing the complaint in state court in Bexar County, where San Antonio is located.
The new law skirts judicial scrutiny by letting people file civil lawsuits against abortion practitioners and anyone who “aids” in an illegal abortion. Plaintiffs who win in court can receive bounties of at least $10,000, and Stilley admits he wouldn’t mind the cash.
I am curious as to how Stilley can justify the figure of $100,000 he seeks. Since he is not opposed to abortion, ‘pain and suffering’ cannot be a reason.
I am expecting more lawsuits to be filed against Braid. It would be interesting to see if other pro-choice people also file suits without seeking any damages, as I predicted might happen, and am curious to see how it is decided which suits should go forward and in which jurisdiction.
This whole thing is going to become a big legal circus. If the issue did not have such serious consequences for women, we could laugh at Texas once again becoming a laughing stock, taking the lead in the long-running competition with Florida to see which state can come up with the most extreme policies.