Lawsuits against doctor to test constitutionality of Texas abortion law

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Sept. 20 (Reuters) – A San Antonio doctor who announced he had performed an abortion on a woman in violation of a new Texas law was sued Monday by two other state plaintiffs in a Texas state court alleging the constitutionality of the Want to review law.

Alan Braid said in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Saturday that he had broken a new Texas law prohibiting abortion beyond the point where a rhythmic contraction of fetal heart tissue could be detected. The law leaves enforcement of the ban up to citizens and rewards them with at least $ 10,000 for successfully suing anyone who helped perform such an abortion and pay their legal fees.

In the cases filed on Monday, the state would bear the cost of reviewing the law. One of the plaintiffs who sued Braid, Oscar Stilley, said in a phone call with Reuters on Monday that he was against Texas law and wanted to be the first to force a court to review its legality.

Texas’s new abortion restrictions violate women’s constitutional rights, Stilley said.

“I think it’s a choice between her and her doctor,” he said when asked if he would advocate giving women the right to have an abortion.

Stilley, an expelled attorney, is serving 12 years on a 15-year prison sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy in domestic custody.

The other plaintiff, Felipe Gomez, a suspended lawyer from Illinois, alleged in his complaint that “the law as it is written and used here is illegal”. Gomez didn’t immediately respond to a comment.

Monday’s lawsuit remains the most direct test to date of the legality of the Texas ban on abortion, one of the most restrictive laws of its kind in the United States. Abortion rights groups and the US Department of Justice have sued Texas in federal court over the law for violating a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion before the fetus is viable.

Braid’s San Antonio office referred requests for comment to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is committed to representing Braid in any litigation.

Soliciting for comment, the center sent a statement from its senior attorney, Marc Hearron, who recognizes that the law allows anyone to sue anyone who promotes or incites abortion beyond the prescribed limit. “We are starting to see this happening, including with applicants from abroad,” the statement said.

Texas Right to Life, a state anti-abortion group, did not respond to a comment.

Reporting by Julia Harte and David Thomas; Editing by Stephen Coates

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