A Texas doctor performed an abortion, violating a new Texas abortion law. As reported by NPR, “Former attorneys in Arkansas and Illinois filed lawsuits Monday against Dr. Alan Braid, who in a weekend Washington Post opinion column became the first Texas abortion provider to publicly reveal he violated the law that took effect on Sept. 1.”
The law allows private citizens (not the state) to sue doctors who perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the law to stand. Citizens’ lawsuits are the only enforcement mechanism with civil, not criminal penalties.
The Tatum Report’s Marmee Rooke wrote, “Dr. Alan Braid shocked readers after he admitted having violated the Texas Heartbeat bill by providing an abortion to a woman after the heartbeat was detected.”
Dr. Baird is proud of performing abortions at “clinics he opened and ran in Texas and Oklahoma.” Baird says attending medical school in the 1970s provided him with an understanding that “abortion was an integral part of women’s healthcare.”
The plaintiffs apparently have a cynical alliance with the defendant. Oscar Stilley, who’d lost his law license after a tax fraud conviction, said he feels the new law is an “end-run” [around Roe]. He said he doesn’t oppose abortion but wants a court to review the law. He doesn’t want doctors to fear bankruptcy for performing abortions.
Ironically, another plaintiff, Felipe N. Gomez, wants the court to rule the law unconstitutional because it’s “a form of government overreach.” Increasing the irony, he added, “If Republicans are going to say nobody can tell you to get a shot, they shouldn’t tell women what to do with their bodies either. I think they should be consistent.” Gomez said he didn’t know about the possible $10,000 award. He said, if he “won,” he’d donate to “an abortion-rights group.”
Elsewhere, abortion providers asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to invalidate the law. They argue Texas passed it “in open defiance of the Constitution.” Also ironic, since that’s the argument used by even some “pro-choice” proponents who believe Roe v. Wade was passed in open defiance of the Constitution.
Some critics question “standing.” Standing normally requires the plaintiff has suffered a direct injury or loss. Texas lawyer David Coale told The Texas Tribune, “That [law] is a radical expansion of the concept of standing.” The Tribune called into question the Republican’s “reversal” supporting limiting tort law. However, the Tribune might be discounting the unique nature of abortion, which involves existential questions about human life.
According to the New York Post, “The Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 1 in Mississippi’s bid to have the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion overturned.”
Mississippi passed a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks and wants the Court to uphold it. The state is also asking the Court to overrule Roe. In addition, they want the justices to overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which “prevents states from banning abortion before viability.”