Texas Abortion Law Gets Its First Lawsuits

Written by SK Ashby

Republican lawmakers in Texas passed a law that enables any private citizen to file a lawsuit against anyone who performs or even helps a woman obtain an abortion. That could mean the doctor who performs it or the person who drove a patient to a clinic.

Abortions rights groups and the Department of Justice have both challenged the law in separate lawsuits, but two individuals are now suing a doctor for performing an abortion.

In a surprise twist, however, the individuals who filed the lawsuits actually have good intentions. Their intention is to fail and defang the law.

Oscar Stilley, who described himself as a former lawyer who lost his law license after being convicted of tax fraud in 2010, said he is not opposed to abortion but sued to force a court review of Texas' anti-abortion law, which he called an "end-run."

"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, of Cedarville, Arkansas, told The Associated Press.

Felipe N. Gomez, of Chicago, asked a court in San Antonio in his lawsuit to declare the new law unconstitutional. In his view, the law is a form of government overreach. [...]

"Being sued puts him in a position ... that he will be able to defend the action against him by saying the law is unconstitutional," said Carol Sanger, a law professor at Columbia University in New York City.

I imagine Republicans did not anticipate that someone may use the law in a legally creative way to seek its demise. I'm not sure whether to laugh or not because they're playing with fire in any case. This is a high risk, high reward situation.

If these lawsuits actually succeed, the second filer Felipe Gomez says he would donate the reward to an abortion rights group.