Texas Abortion Law Sees Test as Doctor Faces Individual Lawsuit

Sept. 20, 2021, 10:48 PM

A Texas doctor who admitted he performed an abortion in violation of a new state law has been sued in one of the first legal tests of the highly restrictive statute, which has already drawn a Justice Department challenge and action by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alan Braid, a San Antonio doctor who wrote about performing the abortion in a Washington Post op-ed, was sued in Texas state court on Monday. The lawsuit was filed by Oscar Stilley, a former Arkansas lawyer.

The law, known as Senate Bill 8, was passed by the state legislature earlier this year and took effect Sept. 1. The Supreme Court earlier this month refused a request by abortion providers in Texas to block the law while litigation is underway. The U.S. Justice Department sued the state in federal court in Austin on Sept. 9 to block the law.

S.B. 8, now the most restrictive abortion law in the country, bars anyone from performing or aiding in an abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected -- typically around the sixth week, before many women know they are pregnant. It tasks private citizens, rather than the government, with enforcing it, which critics say is a way of avoiding judicial review. Plaintiffs can be awarded $10,000 for a successful suit.

QuickTake: How Texas Abortion Law Turns Public Into Enforcers

The law has been viewed as a potential blueprint for similar legislation in other states as the national debate over abortion flares up and reproductive rights face their greatest test in years.

The case is Stilley v. Braid, District Court of Bexar County, Texas, 438th District.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Catarina Saraiva in Houston at asaraiva5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jacqueline Simmons at jackiem@bloomberg.net

Peter Jeffrey

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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