Two people have separately lodged lawsuits against the Texas physician who announced in a recent opinion piece that he violated a state law that prohibits conducting abortion procedures after a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
However, the lawsuits are not being waged by pro-lifers who want to stamp out the practice of abortion.
The state law allows people to lodge a civil action against anyone who conducts or induces an abortion in breach of the law. It also allows for a civil action against those who knowingly participate in activity that "aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion" conducted in violation of the law, irrespective of whether the individual knew that the abortion would be carried out in breach of the law.
Claimants who succeed in an action will be awarded statutory damages of not less than $10,000, according to the state law, which took effect on Sept. 1 and includes an exception for medical emergencies.
In his opinion piece, Dr. Alan Braid proclaimed that on Sept. 6 he had "provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state's new limit. I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care," he wrote.
Oscar Stilley of Arkansas has filed a civil complaint against Braid, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"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,'" Stilley told the Associated Press.
The Wall Street journal reported: "Mr. Stilley said he is neither antiabortion nor in favor of abortion rights, and not affiliated with any abortion-related political groups. He said he considers the Texas statute to be an 'end run' around established law and wants to see a clear ruling on whether it is legitimate."
"The doctor is going to get sued," Stilley said, according to the Journal. "Someone is going to get $10,000 off him. If that's the law, I may as well get the money. If it's not the law, let's go to court and get it sorted out."
In another suit, Felipe N. Gomez of Illinois is characterized in his filing as a "pro-choice plaintiff," according to the Journal. The outlet reported that in the complaint Gomez requests for a court to strike down the law.
"I'm against having someone tell me I have to get a shot or wear a mask and the same people who agree with me on that—the GOP—tell people what they can do with their bodies on the other hand," Gomez said, according to the Journal. "It's inconsistent."
The AP reported that Gomez said he did not know he could win $10,000 if he prevails. The Journal reported that he said he is not interested in winning any money.
If he gets money, he said he would likely give it to an abortion rights organization or to the patients of the physician he sued, according to the AP.