Two lawsuits were filed this week against a Texas abortion doctor under that state's new heartbeat bill. The suits-thought to be the first brought under Senate Bill 8-were brought against San Antonio physician Dr. Alan Braid. Dr. Braid made news last weekend after writing in the Washington Post that he had violated SB8 by performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat was detected. According to the New York Times, the two men suing Dr. Braid-one from Arkansas and one from Illinois-are disbarred lawyers with no apparent association with the pro-life movement. The Illinois man, Felipe N. Gomez, described himself as a "pro-choice plaintiff" in his lawsuit against Dr. Braid. Should the plaintiffs win their civil suits, they would be entitled to $10,000 plus their attorney fees.
Ironically, these lawsuits brought under SB8 could ultimately doom the pro-life law. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law, stating that the plaintiffs had not identified a proper defendant (due to the fact that the law was enforced by individuals, not state officials). These two lawsuits now provide a defendant-Dr. Braid-who can argue that the law is unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which hold that a state cannot ban pre-viability abortions.