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Texas doctor who violated abortion ban sued by convicted felon from Arkansas

Madlin Mekelburg, Austin American-Statesman on

Published in News & Features

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas doctor has been sued under the state's new law prohibiting most abortions, a lawsuit that could test the constitutionality of the sweeping ban that allows any private citizen to sue providers.

Dr. Alan Braid, a longtime physician in obstetrics and gynecology from San Antonio, wrote Sunday in an opinion piece in The Washington Post that he had performed an abortion outside the legal window permitted in the law, which prohibits the procedure before about six weeks of pregnancy.

Braid became the first doctor to publicly share that he had violated the ban, writing in the Post that he knew his actions could draw a civil lawsuit under the law, which permits any individual to sue abortion providers or others seen as aiding and abetting an abortion that violates the ban.

On Monday, an Arkansas man filed such a lawsuit in Bexar County District Court and said he hopes to test the constitutionality of the new law.

"I woke up this morning ... and I saw a story about this doctor, Dr. Braid," said Oscar Stilley, a former lawyer convicted of tax fraud in 2010, in an interview. "He's obviously a man of principle and courage and it just made me mad to see the trick bag they put him in and I just decided: I'm going to file a lawsuit. We're going to get an answer, I want to see what the law is."

 

The law allows successful plaintiffs to collect at least $10,000 for every illegal abortion that is exposed and does not require the individual to have any connection to the patient or defendant.

Stilley, who is on home confinement, said he saw an opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of the provision — and possibly snag $10,000 in the process.

"(The statute) says any person can bring a lawsuit," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter that I'm a disbarred attorney. It doesn't matter that I'm in custody. It doesn't matter that I'm up in Arkansas and not in Texas."

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