Texas Heartbeat Act – and legal trolling
Regular readers will recall that the Supreme Court of the United States refused to enjoin the Texas Heartbeat Act. They said in effect, “Call us when you have an actual case for us to judge.” Well, now they have, or soon will have. An inveterate abortion provider performed an abortion after the six-week “heartbeat time.” He then boasted about it, in a brazen opinion piece in The Washington Post. (For reasons of their own, the Post did not put this opinion piece behind a pay wall.) In his boast he says nothing about testing for a fetal heartbeat. So CNAV will assume he did not test for one. Which means he is liable under that law for civil action. And now someone has taken such action.
The problem: the person taking the action is acting inappropriately and creating a nuisance. As a JAG officer in the American Patriotic Militia (if the JAG Corps had proper organization), he’d rate dismissal. This case could wind up with a decision against the Texas Heartbeat Act, unless Texas Right to Life, the only activists to talk of building any kind of program to enforce this law, act decisively, aggressively, and now.
Review of the Texas Heartbeat Act
Again as regular readers will note, CNAV has reported twice already about the Texas Heartbeat Act.
In one or both of the above articles, one may read:
- The text of the Act,
- The text of the Supreme Court’s unsigned opinion denying an emergency injunction against it, and
- An outline of a program of “lawfare” that private activists must put in place to enforce this Act properly.
CNAV said it before, and will say it again. The Texas Heartbeat Act does not provide for the State to enforce it. It grants standing to private actors to bring civil action, and offers rewards of $10,000 and upwards, plus attorneys’ fees and court costs.
The defendant: Alan Braid, M.D.
Dr. Alan Braid runs a gynecology practice in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio, once named San Antonio de Bejar, is the seat of Bexar County. Which is one of the bluest counties in all of Texas, and is close to Travis County, the bluest. If any county were to produce the first test case of this Act, Bexar County would be a prime candidate.
In his Manifesto for Abortion, “Why I violated Texas’ extreme abortion ban,” Dr. Braid describes his training and experiences that led him to become a consistent advocate for abortion. Your editor must remind readers that he, too, attended medical school in Texas – from 1980-85. Your editor attended Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Braid attended the University of Texas Medical School. The Texas Medical Center, a combined campus near Rice University in Houston, Texas, houses all the buildings of both. (Rice University bears no relationship to the TMC other than being literally up the main street from it.) And, perhaps as is typical, he went from Houston to San Antonio to begin a residency in obstetrics and gynecology.
The wrong lessons in medical school and residency
Have a look at his background as he relates it. He says that his med school professors described abortion to him as “an integral part of women’s health care.” Sadly, my medical school professors taught me much the same, so I cannot dispute that account. He also says he began his residency in 1972, and welcomed the 22 January 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Apparently, for a young interne (first-year resident), seeing a woman die from a septic abortion scarred him. But he drew exactly the wrong moral from it. For which, blame his professors and virtually the entire American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They taught him (as they taught me) that abortion is “an integral part of women’s health care.” They taught him, in effect, not to ask how that woman who died from septic abortion came to get into a “fix” out of which she felt she could get only by going to “a dirty doctor.” Never once did I hear anything about encouraging patients, male or female, to make moral choices. I assume that neither did Dr. Braid.
So why did he dedicate his career to the contract murder of unborn children? I can tell you why I did not. For one thing, I chose a different discipline from his: pathology. For another – and I find this the key to his problem and my avoidance of it – I found salvation. Yes, I “got religion.” He, evidently, never did, and still hasn’t.
Typically specious reasons for getting abortions
Why do women come to him and take out murder contracts against their unborn children? Read his descriptions for yourselves:
Though we never ask why someone has come to our clinic, they often tell us. They’re finishing school or they already have three children, they’re in an abusive relationship, or it’s just not time. A majority are mothers. Most are between 18 and 30. Many are struggling financially — more than half qualify for some form of financial aid from us.
Several times a month, a woman confides that she is having the abortion because she has been raped. Sometimes, she reports it to the police; more often, she doesn’t.
In other words: convenience. Theirs is an inconvenient pregnancy. Never mind that they could go to the police to solve the abusive-relationship probem, or especially to report a man for committing rape against her. CNAV takes the same position that the Texas Legislature took. Namely that the unborn child does not rate summary execution to atone for a man’s wrong act.
The wrong educational philosophy and how it warps young doctors’ minds
But of course we come back to the lack of moral education in medical school today. Or at least the moral education neither Dr. Braid nor I got in our respective medical schools. The only moral statements any of my professors made, were to one or more of these effects:
- How greedy are the large companies that grow tobacco and don’t care how many of their customers smoke themselves to early graves, using their products.
- How foolish are our patients who smoke, drink to excess, take recreational drugs (especially with dirty needles), etc.
Not. One. Word. About moral choices in sexual matters. The only advice my fellow students and I heard from our professors, was to advise our patients on how to do sex “safely.” Condoms. Oral contraceptives. Intrauterine devices – though those are now obsolete. But abstinence and sexual continence? An impossible dream, and the fevered dream of desert dwellers. (And they were talking about Christians and Jews, not Muslims.) Again, I assume that Dr. Braid heard – and did not hear – the same as did I.
So for forty-five years, Dr. Braid continued his practice. Then the Texas Heartbeat Act passed, then survived its first Supreme Court challenge. And he says: “It’s 1972 all over again!”
So much for Dr. Braid. Now I will talk about the man who thinks he can take him down.
The first Texas Heartbeat Act plaintiff: Oscar Stilley
Oscar Stilley is, in CNAV’s opinion, the worst candidate to be the first plaintiff under the Texas Heartbeat Act. In so saying, your editor emphasizes that he never had legal training. But common sense dictates what CNAV will now say of him.
Oscar Stilley, first of all, does not even reside in Texas. He is serving a fifteen-year “home confinement” sentence for tax fraud – in Arkansas. He had been a lawyer – and now is disbarred. Therefore he could only act on his own behalf. (No court rule forbids that, but only a recognized lawyer can act on another’s behalf in court. Which is what the word attorney means.) He runs his own website, “Busting the Feds,” in which he announced his intentions yesterday.
Reactions on his blog comment space to his act are mixed, to put the matter mildly. One person found the opinion of the Arkansas Supreme Court in the case, Ligon v. Stilley, that resulted in his disbarment.
That report describes unprofessional and unethical conduct, and disrespect for judicial authority. Specifically, it describes his attempt to file multiple State and federal lawsuits to relitigate already decided matters. The filing of frivolous actions, motions, and appeals arguably shows the least respect an attorney at law can show. In point of fact, Oscar Stilley is a legal troll – and the courts hate trolls.
A habit of trolling the courts
The site calling itself “Heavy” has further details. Actually, the “Heavy” site offers little more than the disbarment report has to offer, beyond this: he won release from prison as a non-violent offender, by reason of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
So does anything in that report disqualify him as a plaintiff in the case? Technically, no – unless the District Court for Bexar County decides to exclude him for not being a Texas resident. Why wouldn’t the other marks against him disqualify him? Maybe because the allegations against him are a matter of opinion, and go to the heart of the constitutionality of the federal income tax.
But: the report describes a pattern and penchant for filing frivolous actions. That alone should give any judge pause in deciding whether to let any complaint by him move forward.
Using the Texas Heartbeat Act as another trolling opportunity
Here one may read his civil complaint that he filed in Texas.
All civil complaints begin with a statement-of-parties, that tells the court who is suing whom. Courts use such statements to determine standing. Mr. Stilley begins with a description of his circumstances – and editorializes about them. The most important part of his statement is his attempt to show that, even though he is not a Texas resident, he may still sue a Texas defendant in a Texas court over the Texas Heartbeat Act. One may legitimately wonder why he would even get involved, and insert into this filing his defiant protestation of innocence of the crime whereof a court convicted him.
The actual complaint is a mishmash of allegations, most of which would not even be relevant or justiciable. For example:
- On information and belief, Defendant believes that his Elohim (“mighty ones,” AKA“God” is entirely capable of giving a new body to replace a defective fetus, in the here and now,and not only “when you die bye and bye.”
- On information and belief, Defendant believes that his Elohim (“mighty ones,” AKA“God” is not offended because he aborts a defective fetus, at the request of the pregnant woman.
Note the missing right parentheses.
How can the court take him seriously?
How does Mr. Stilley expect to argue a case before a judge in Texas if he is under home confinement in Arkansas? More to the point: how does Mr. Stilley expect a court to take him or his complaint seriously? He could have cut out more than two-thirds of his statement-of-parties and his complaint and still have a valid complaint against Dr. Braid. By introducing disputes of fact about his own case, and statements about “information and belief” which he does not substantiate, he is almost asking the court to dismiss his suit for lack of personal or subject-matter jurisdiction. And if by some chance the case does reach the Supreme Court, now he risks the entire law. That is, unless the Supreme Court narrowly decides that he doesn’t even meet the standing test. Again: he is not a Texas resident.
Conclusion: the right defendant, but the wrong plaintiff, for the Texas Heartbeat Act
To conclude: Dr. Alan Braid has certainly – and brazenly – violated the Texas Heartbeat Act. Texas Right to Life certainly has grounds to sue him under the Act. Dr. Braid’s motives, or opinions about God, or whether he is an atheist, wouldn’t matter.
But Oscar Stilley is not the sort of plaintiff whom genuine right-to-life activists should support. He is a nuisance and is creating a nuisance. CNAV would advise Texas Right to Life to file a complaint of their own. They might also want to file a friend-of-the-court brief recommending that the judge throw Stilley’s complaint out.
This goes to show why those of us who wish to protect rights – ours, and those of others – must organize effectively. That includes imposing some sort of discipline, so that nuisance actors like Oscar Stilley do not defeat the purpose. If this were the JAG Corps of the American Patriotic Militia, the Judge Advocate General would certainly discharge him. In the absence of such a commanding legal officer, other activists must act instead to remove such trolls.
Dr. Braid, in his opinion piece, did not state definitively which University of Texas Medical School he attended. He might indeed have attended the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio. If so, then his taking of residency training in the same city makes better sense. The Texas Medical Center, of course, houses the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. CNAV has no reason to suppose that Dr. Braid would have received a different education at one campus or the other.
The Western Journal published its own article this morning. The article describes Dr. Braid’s brazen manifesto, the Oscar Stilley lawsuit, and one other lawsuit. It cites CBS News, which described the Stilley suit and another suit by one Felipe Gomez of Chicago, Illinois. Gomez says he merely wants judicial review of the law, and is not even a sincere plaintiff: he is pro-abortion.
Texas Right to Life apparently know that these two plaintiffs are trolling the legal system. Two officials have denounced the suits as not only insincere but self-serving. Two separate articles, in the Austin American-Statesman and The New York Times, carry the two interviews.
But Texas Right to Life has not said what they plan to do about these two actions, which they themselves deem spurious.