September 20 (Reuters) – A San Antonio doctor who announced he aborted a woman defying a new Texas law was sued Monday in Texas state court by two plaintiffs from other states who want to test the constitutionality of the law.
Alan Braid said in an opinion piece published Saturday in the Washington Post that he had breached a new Texas law banning abortions beyond the point where rhythmic contraction of fetal heart tissue could be detected. The law leaves the application of the ban to citizens, rewarding them with at least $ 10,000 if they successfully sue anyone who helped provide this abortion and pay court costs.
In the cases filed Monday, the state would pay the costs of proving the law. One of the plaintiffs who sued Braid, Oscar Stilley, said Monday in a phone call with Reuters that he opposes Texas law and wanted to be the first person to force a court to assess its legality.
New restrictions on Texas abortion violate women’s constitutional rights, Stilley said.
“I think it’s a decision between her and her doctor,” she said when asked if she supported giving women the right to choose access to abortion.
Stilley, an unauthorized lawyer, is in confinement and is serving a twelve-year sentence of 15 years for tax evasion and conspiracy.
The other plaintiff, Felipe Gómez, a suspended Illinois attorney, alleged in his complaint that “the law is illegal as written and enforced here.” Gomez did not immediately return any calls for comment.
Monday’s lawsuits are by far the most direct proof of the legality of Texas’ abortion ban, which is one of the most restrictive laws in the United States. Abortion advocacy groups and the U.S. Department of Justice have also sued Texas for the law in federal court, saying it violates a woman’s constitutional right to abortion before the fetus is viable.
Braid’s San Antonio office forwarded requests for comment to the Reproductive Rights Center, which has pledged to represent Braid in any lawsuit.
When comments were requested, the center sent a statement from its top attorney, Marc Hearron, who acknowledged that the law allows anyone to sue people who help or incite abortion beyond the prescribed limit. “We are beginning to see this happen, including out-of-state claimants,” the statement said.
Texas Right to Life, a state anti-abortion group, did not return any calls for comment.
Report by Julia Harte and David Thomas; Edited by Stephen Coates
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