First doctor sued under Texas heartbeat abortion law

Texas Values

The new Texas heartbeat abortion law has claimed its first offender. The people who dobbed the offender in may get the first big payout for doing so.

The doctor who said he performed an abortion in violation of the new state law was sued Monday by two non-Texas residents.

This is thought to be the first legal action taken since the State’s law took effect this month.

A Texas pro-life group has criticized the lawsuits calling them “imprudent” and “self-serving.”

The doctor at the centre of the lawsuit is Alan Braid. He announced on The Washington Post opinion page that he had violated the new Texas heartbeat abortion law by performing an abortion on a woman whose unborn baby had a heartbeat.

He said he did so because of “a duty of care to this patient…and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights is reportedly representing Braid.

Texas’ law, which is designed to be enforced through private lawsuits, prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, except in medical emergencies.

The law took effect on 1 September. It allows for at least $10,000 in damages in successful lawsuits.

These can be filed against anyone who “aids and abets” an illegal abortion; women seeking abortions cannot be sued under the law.

Despite the law’s intentions, neither of the two men filing lawsuits against Braid appear to have done so because of anti-abortion convictions.

One was brought by an Arkansas man and self-described “disbarred and disgraced” lawyer currently serving a 15-year house arrest sentence for tax evasion. He says he filed the lawsuit in an attempt both to “vindicate” the Texas law and to collect up to $10,000 if he wins the suit.

The second lawsuit was filed by a complainant describing himself as “pro-choice” who thinks the Texas law is “illegal.” He said if he is awarded money, he would likely donate it to an “abortion rights group” or to the patients of the doctor he sued.

Texas Right to Life criticized the two lawsuits as “self-serving legal stunts” that don’t make “valid attempts to save innocent human lives”.

Braid claimed the law had “shut down about 80 percent of the abortion services we provide.”

“I fully understood that there could be legal consequences — but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested,” he wrote.

Catholic bishops around the country reacted with praise to the law, and noted that women experiencing a crisis pregnancy have resources available, instead of abortion.

Texas bishops say opponents of the law, who have described a fetal heartbeat as “electrically induced flickering of embryonic tissue” or “embryonic cardiac activity,” are making a “disturbing” effort to “dehumanize the unborn.”

“Abortion is a human rights issue; the most fundamental human right is the right to life,” the bishops say.

“Abortion is not healthcare. Abortion is not freedom. Abortion does not help women. Abortion is never the answer. It is always the violent taking of innocent human life.”


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