A San Antonio court dismissed a case against a Texas abortion practitioner who willfully broke a controversial abortion regulation.
Senate Bill 8 lets anyone sue someone who will aid and abet an abortion after six weeks. On Thursday, Bexar County state District Judge Aaron Haas ruled that persons who have no connection to the banned abortion and have not been affected by it cannot sue.
Marc Hearron, Center for Reproductive Rights senior attorney, said Thursday’s verdict creates an important precedent but does not repeal the legislation.
Senate Bill 8
SB 8 became the most stringent abortion law in September 2021. The rule barred abortions after fetal cardiac activity, usually around six weeks of pregnancy, when many women don’t know they’re pregnant.
After six weeks, most state clinics ceased offering abortions. Without a test case, the law’s unique civil enforcement mechanism was hard to dispute. Dr. Alan Braid, a San Antonio doctor who has performed abortions in Texas since 1973, purposely broke the law to attract private litigation.
Braid wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post that he wanted to make sure Texas does not get away with its bid to keep this clearly illegal law from being tested.
Braid faced three lawsuits immediately. Hearron said two were never served, but one, filed by Felipe Gomez of Chicago, went to court. The lone SB 8 court ruling was Thursday’s Gomez case. Hearron expected self-represented Gomez to appeal.
Gomez was unavailable for comment.
After Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, Texas implemented additional criminal abortion laws in addition to the civil six-week ban. Texas abortionists risk life in jail.
Braid shut down his San Antonio and Tulsa clinics once the regulations took effect.
He says it breaks his heart that Texans still cannot get vital health care in their state. He also aches that providers fear doing their jobs. He claims that though they had to their Texas clinic, he will continue serving patients across the region, giving them the care they deserve in his Illinois and New Mexico clinics.