Texas Abortion Law Faces First Test in Suit From Lawyer Who Went to Prison

A Texas doctor who recently admitted to performing an abortion in violation of the state's new restrictive law is facing a legal challenge from a convicted felon hoping to collect at least $10,000.

In a Saturday opinion article published by The Washington Post, Dr. Alan Braid admitted that earlier this month he violated the law by performing an abortion on a woman during her first trimester of pregnancy, but after the roughly six week period that the Texas law allows.

Disbarred Arkansas lawyer Oscar Stilley sued Braid on Monday. The law allows any party to sue doctors who perform banned abortions for a minimum of $10,000.

Stilley's suit was the first legal challenge against Braid since the opinion article was published. Stilley told The Post that he is not personally opposed to abortion but he hopes to collect the money and that his suit was an opportunity to determine whether the law was "garbage."

In his legal complaint, Stilley wrote that he "is kind and patient and helpful toward bastards, but ideologically opposed to forcing any woman to produce another bastard against her own free will."

Stilley is seeking a total of $100,000, although his complaint notes that he expects to receive "in no case less than the statutory minimum of $10,000." He was convicted on tax fraud charges in 2010 and is currently serving a 15-year sentence under house arrest, having been released from prison due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texas law effectively bans most abortions from being performed in the state because it outlaws the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected—which usually occurs at around six weeks, a time when many women do not even realize that they are pregnant.

There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The controversial law went into effect on September 1, with the U.S. Supreme Court declining to temporarily suspend it amid multiple and ongoing legal challenges.

Braid was the first doctor to openly admit to violating the ban.

On Monday, anti-abortion group Operation Rescue lobbied the Texas Medical Board to revoke Braid's license to practice medicine over the admission. Shortly after Stilley filed his lawsuit, a second suit was filed by a Chicago man who asked the court to declare the law unconstitutional.

Braid said that he violated the law with the knowledge "that there could be legal consequences."

"I understand that by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit, I am taking a personal risk, but it's something I believe in strongly," Braid wrote in the opinion article. "I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care. I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can't just sit back and watch us return to 1972."

Newsweek reached out to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing Braid, for comment.

Texas Abortion Ban Doctor Lawsuit Felon Law
A Texas doctor has been sued after openly admitting to violating the state's new restrictive law on abortions. A protester is pictured holding a sign modeled on the Gadsen flag, featuring a uterus resembling a snake with the words "Don't Tread On Me" written underneath, during a demonstration in Austin, Texas on May 29, 2021. Sergio Flores/Getty