Private Citizens Can Sue Doctors Who Violate the Law $10,000
A Texas doctor who publicly said she had an abortion was sued by two separate plaintiffs in state court on Monday, handing Texas the first test of its new abortion law.
Texas law prohibits abortion after approximately six weeks of pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and it deputizes private citizens to prosecute anyone they believe to be —that such process can be assisted and collect $10,000. It came into effect from 1 September.
San Antonio physician Alan Brad said in an opinion essay for the Washington Post on Saturday that he had an abortion earlier this month in defiance of the law.
Texas Doctor Claims State’s New Abortion Law Is Illegal, He’s Already Violated It
Oscar Stille, a former Arkansas attorney who said he was imprisoned at home after a tax-fraud conviction, filed a civil complaint against the doctor in Bexar County District Court on Monday. He said he decided to sue the doctor after reading about the case on Monday morning and wanted to test the Texas law.
“The doctor is on trial,” Stille said. “Someone’s going to get $10,000 out of that. If it’s the law, I can get the money too. If it’s not the law, let’s go to court and settle it.”
Mr Stille said he is neither anti-abortion nor in favor of abortion rights, and is not affiliated with any political group related to abortion.
In a separate lawsuit, Illinois resident Felipe N. Gomez, who is described as a “pro-plaintiff” in her filing, filed a complaint in Bexar County on Monday morning. While the complaint is against Dr. Brad, it says Mr. Gomez considers the Texas law to be illegal and asks a court to strike it down. He said he was not interested in collecting any money.
“I’m against anyone saying I have to take a shot or wear a mask and the same people who agree with me—the GOP—tell people what they can do with their bodies,” Mr. Gomez said. “It’s inconsistent.”
Dr. Brad could not immediately be reached for comment. He said in his essay that he understands that he may face legal consequences for the abortions he performs. “I wanted to make sure Texas doesn’t shy away from its bid to prevent this clearly unconstitutional law from being put on trial,” he wrote.