SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Lawyers for a doctor who intentionally defied a Texas abortion law that the lawyers called a “bounty-hunting scheme” say a court has dismissed a test of whether members of the public can sue providers who violate the restrictions for at least $10,000 in damages.
Dr. Alan Braid published an opinion piece in the Washington Post last year revealing that he intentionally violated the Texas law shortly after it took effect in September 2021. The law bans abortions after roughly the sixth week of pregnancy and is only enforced through lawsuits filed by private citizens — although Texas subsequently banned abortions entirely after the fall of Roe v. Wade.
Even though Texas now has a broader abortion ban, the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents Braid, said the decision Thursday by a San Antonio court is still significant because it rejected that people with no connection to an abortion can sue. The dismissal was announced from the bench, and no formal written opinion had been published as of Friday morning.
“When I provided my patient with the care she needed last year, I was doing my duty as a physician,” Braid said in a statement. “It is heartbreaking that Texans still can’t get essential health care in their home state and that providers are left afraid to do their jobs.”
The lawsuit brought against Braid after he announced he had defied the Texas law was filed by Felipe N. Gomez, of Chicago, who asked the court to declare the law unconstitutional. He has said that he wasn’t aware he could claim at least $10,000 in damages if he won his lawsuit, and that if he had received any money, he likely would have donated it to an abortion rights group or to the patients of the doctor he sued.
Gomez said he was waiting to see the court’s ruling but has already filed a notice of appeal.
Braid has closed his clinics in Texas and Oklahoma, where abortion is also outlawed. He has since opened other clinics in Illinois and New Mexico.