San Antonio Doctor Says He Violated Texas’ Restrictive Anti-Abortion Law to Challenge It
A Texas doctor stepped forward Saturday to say he had performed an abortion that is illegal under the state’s restrictive new law to force a test of its legality.
“I understand that by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit, I am taking a personal risk, but it’s something I believe in strongly,” Alan Braid, a San Antonio OB/GYN, said in an op-ed in The Washington Post. “I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care. . . . I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.”
Braid said he performed a first-trimester abortion on Sept. 6, just a few days after the law known as Senate Bill 8 went into effect in Texas, making nearly all abortions illegal after a woman is about six weeks pregnant — with no exceptions for incest or rape. The doctor said he acted because he had “a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients.”
The op-ed is the latest development in the storm over Texas’s abortion law, the most restrictive in the nation. The law took effect Sept. 1 after a conservative Supreme Court majority declined to block it, saying the abortion rights advocates who challenged it could not show they were suing the right people. The Justice Department sued Texas just over a week ago to try to block the ban and has also made an emergency request to a federal judge in Austin to immediately block its enforcement. The judge set an Oct. 1 hearing date.
Meanwhile, several other Republican-led states have indicated they are considering following Texas’s lead. Unlike other six-week abortion bans that have been struck down by the courts, the Texas law does not rely on the state to enforce it. Instead, it deputizes private citizens to sue abortion providers, doctors or anyone else who aids in the procedure. Individuals can receive a $10,000 award if their lawsuits are successful. A slew of lawsuits against Braid are expected to follow his public admission.