A state court ruled on December 8 that it would dismiss a lawsuit against Dr. Alan Braid, a Texas physician who provided abortion care in violation of the state’s “vigilante” abortion ban (S.B. 8). The court rejected the idea that a person not directly impacted by the abortion can sue under S.B. 8, setting an important precedent for other courts.
Several media outlets reported on the ruling. Highlights include:
- “This is a significant win against S.B. 8’s bounty-hunting scheme because the court rejected the notion that Texas can allow a person with no connection to an abortion to sue,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “But this dismissal did not provide the opportunity to strike down S.B. 8 overall, and in the wake of the Dobbs decision, Texas is enforcing multiple abortion bans. As a result, pregnant Texans with life-threatening obstetric emergencies are being turned away from hospitals. No one should have to be near death just to get the health care they need.”
“Texas state court throws out lawsuit against San Antonio doctor who violated abortion law,” Texas Public Radio, 12.8.22
- “Thursday’s ruling sets an important precedent but does not overturn the law, said Marc Hearron, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights.”
“Texas judge tosses case against doctor who violated state abortion ban,” Austin-American Statesman, 12.8.22
- “Texas’ abortion ban remains in effect, and the dismissal did not strike down Texas law allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers. However, the ruling could set a precedent for other courts that will determine whether people can sue providers or others who “aid and abet” an abortion, lawsuits that Texas law began allowing last year.”
“Texas Doctor Who Violated Abortion Law Wins Dismissal of Suit,” Bloomberg, 12.8.22
- “Braid’s lawyers argued at Thursday’s hearing that the complaint should be dismissed because Gomez couldn’t show he was harmed by the doctor’s actions, a prerequisite for bringing a lawsuit under the Texas Constitution.”
“Texas abortion ban’s ‘bounty hunter’ feature takes blow from state judge’s ruling,” Dallas Morning News, 12.8.22
- “On Thursday, state District Judge Aaron Haas of Bexar County tossed one of [the lawsuits against Braid], according to Braid’s legal team at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Because Chicagoan Felipe N. Gomez could not show he was directly impacted by the abortion services provided, he has no legal standing to sue.”
- “The state court found Gomez didn’t have standing to sue because he wasn’t directly impacted by the abortion, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented Braid.”
- The court’s ruling won’t overturn SB 8, but the Center for Reproductive Rights called it a “significant win,” as it sets a precedent that might make it more likely courts deciding future lawsuits brought under SB 8 will shut them down.
“Lawsuit against doctor who defied Texas abortion law tossed,” The Washington Post, 12.9.22
- “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.”