Just a few weeks after Texas effectively outlawed abortions after the six-week mark (or, in other words, before many people even know they’re pregnant), the first lawsuits have been filed against Alan Braid, a San Antonio physician who wrote a recent Washington Post op-ed about violating the ban and continuing to provide his patients with abortion care.
One of the most alarming aspects of Texas’s new abortion ban is the so-called “bounty” that allows private citizens to collect $10,000 for successfully suing anyone suspected of “aiding and abetting” an individual in obtaining an abortion after six weeks, including doctors, nurses, clinic employees, and Uber drivers. That’s the basis of the lawsuit filed against Braid by plaintiff Oscar Stilley, a man from Arkansas who said that he is not personally opposed to abortion, but sees his suit as more of a test case for the $10,000 reward. “Let’s find out if this thing is the law... if it is, let’s live by it, if not let’s get it struck down,” he told the Texas Tribune. The other plaintiff, Felipe N. Gomez, identified himself as pro-choice and has aligned himself with Braid in the lawsuit.
“I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care,” Braid wrote in his op-ed. “I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.” Terrifyingly, Braid and his fellow health care professionals may be facing the first in a long series of challenges to their ability to provide reproductive care, as the Supreme Court recently set a date to hear arguments in a Mississippi case that could pose a serious challenge to Roe v. Wade and endanger the health and safety of pregnant people across the country.