A former Arkansas lawyer says he's going to sue a Texas doctor who performed an abortion in defiance of Texas' new laws against the procedure in an attempt to either prove or disprove their legal viability.
Oscar Stilley, a man who says he has been 'disbarred and disgraced' from practicing law, is suing Dr. Allan Braid in one of the first lawsuits tied to SB 8, which prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into a pregnancy.
Stilley's interest in the new law in part comes from the incentive provided, as it is enforceable by private citizens, who are able to take medical providers or anyone else who aides in an abortion to try and claim a bounty of up to $10,000.
'That's a fine payday,' said Stilley.
Stilley (right) said he decided to sue Braid (left) after reading a news report about Braid's remarks. He added in an interview that he is not personally opposed to abortion but thinks the measure should be subject to judicial review
However, Stilley also believes that the law is 'blatantly unconstitutional' and deserves to be tested, because he believes it's meant to hurt doctors.
'I know what the proponents of this law are doing,' he explained. 'They're trying to inject uncertainty so that the doctors are going to say, 'Oh, my goodness, this could bankrupt me.''
Stilley, who in his complaint says he's on home confinement from prison while serving a 15-year sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy, wants to see how the law is applied in court.
'I want a judgment on it. I'd like to get this established—is this a valid enactment or is this garbage that needs to be thrown out?'
Stilley is the second lawyer to launch legal action, Felipe N. Gomez of Chicago, asked a court in San Antonio in his lawsuit to declare the new law unconstitutional
Stilley, who has spent the last decade in prisons across the south, describes himself as libertarian leaning and generally in favor of abortion.
He believes 'any woman or any couple who has a defective fetus, and has the good sense and judgment to abort it, deserves our praise and our support.' He added, 'I support the jurisprudence that [the country has] on abortion right now.'
Stilley attempted to contact Braid's office in San Antonio Monday but was not given the time of day.
'I think they thought I was a bad guy,' he said, chuckling. 'But I just want to him to know—I respect the man. Any man who will stand on his hind legs, knowing good and well that the whole purpose of the thing is to bankrupt any doctor who tries it, and does what he thinks is the right thing to do, I have a high degree of respect for him.'
He doesn't believe he'll win if the case goes to trial, but he wants to target lawmakers who enacted the legislation in the first place.
The new law has drawn fervent protests from pro-abortion activists
'I see what you guys are doing,' he said. 'Oscar's laying in wait for you. I'm coming.'
And if he wins, well, Stilley -- who currently makes $13.75 an hour according to The Daily Beast -- says he might as well profit.
'Oscar is going to be the fastest gun in the West. He's going to be there first. If there's money to be had, it's going to go in Oscar's pocket. Might as well go there as anywhere, if it's just a free-for-all. This is the Wild, Wild West.'
Dr Alan Braid admitted in a weekend Washington Post opinion column that he had carried out the procedure, becoming the first Texas abortion provider to publicly reveal he violated the law that took effect on September 1st.
The Texas law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks and before some women even know they are pregnant.
Prosecutors cannot take criminal action against Braid, because the law explicitly forbids that.
Texas lawmakers enacted SB 8 in a special legislative session that also including controversial voting laws
The only way the ban can be enforced is through lawsuits brought by private citizens, who don't have to be from Texas and who are entitled to claim at least $10,000 in damages if successful.
Stilley and another former attorney in Illinois filed separate state lawsuits Monday against the doctor.
They both came in ahead of the state's largest anti-abortion group, which had said it had attorneys ready to bring lawsuits.
Neither ex-lawyer who filed suit said they were anti-abortion. But both said courts should weigh in.
Stilley, of Cedarville, Arkansas, near the Oklahoma border, told The Associated Press: 'I don't want doctors out there nervous and sitting there and quaking in their boots and saying, 'I can't do this because if this thing works out, then I'm going to be bankrupt'.'
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (pictured) has defended the state's abortion law by saying he's working to 'eliminate all rapists.'
The second lawyer to launch legal action, Felipe N. Gomez of Chicago, asked a court in San Antonio in his lawsuit to declare the new law unconstitutional.
In his view, the law is a form of government overreach. He said his lawsuit is a way to hold the Republicans who run Texas accountable, adding that their lax response to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic conflicts with their crack down on abortion rights.
'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,' Gomez said. 'I think they should be consistent.'
Gomez said he wasn't aware he could claim up to $10,000 in damages if he won his lawsuit. If he received money, Gomez said he would likely donate it to an abortion rights group or to the patients of the doctor he sued.
A woman carries a sign calling for access to abortion (pictured) at a rally at the Texas State Capitol on September 11, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Texas Lawmakers recently passed legislation, including SB8, which prohibits abortions in Texas after a fetal heartbeat is detected on an ultrasound, usually between the fifth and sixth weeks of pregnancy
A woman participating in a protest with others (pictured) against the six-week abortion ban at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on September 1, 2021. The Justice Department is asking a federal court in Texas to issue a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction against a new state law that bans most abortions in Texas
Legal experts say Braid's admission is likely to set up another test of whether the law can stand after the Supreme Court allowed it to take effect.
'Being sued puts him in a position ... that he will be able to defend the action against him by saying the law is unconstitutional,' said Carol Sanger, a law professor at Columbia University in New York City.
Braid wrote that on September 6, he provided an abortion to a woman who was still in her first trimester but beyond the state's new limit.
'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,' Braid wrote.
Two federal lawsuits were already making their way through the courts over the law, known as Senate Bill 8. In one, filed by abortion providers and others, the Supreme Court declined to block the law from taking effect while the case makes its way through the legal system.
It's still proceeding in the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals. In the second case, the Justice Department is asking a federal judge to declare the law invalid, arguing it was enacted 'in open defiance of the Constitution.'
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10012383/Disbarred-disgraced-former-lawyer-reveals-suing-doctor-defied-Texas-abortion-ban.html1915