Texas doctor rushes to be first to defy new law, perform illegal abortion to trigger suit

While a Texas law preventing most abortions remains on the books, one doctor has openly flaunted it and proudly performed the fatal operation.

The Texas heartbeat law, known as S.B. 8, has produced no small amount of liberal hysterics (Handmaid’s Tale comparisons being a favorite alongside “American Taliban” references), but one doctor decided to go ahead and begin the legal drama. Dr. Alan Braid, an obstetrician-gynecologist in San Antonio, said he deliberately performed the abortion in order to create a court case, in an essay published in the Washington Post last Saturday.

In the essay, Braid cited a “duty of care to this patient,” to say he is fully aware that under the law he could be prosecuted and that “there could be legal consequences.”

“[I] wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested. 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,” wrote Braid, who insisted that “abortion is an essential part of health care.”

Braid began his residency at a San Antonio hospital in 1972, and claims that during that year prior to Roe v. Wade (1973), he saw “three teenagers die from illegal abortions.” When he heard that the Supreme Court would not block the Texas law, he said “for me, it is 1972 all over again.”

According to Braid, he’s been involved in the delivery of over 10,000 babies, but simultaneously created a series of abortion clinics in Houston and San Antonio before branching out to Oklahoma. The new law “shut down about 80 percent of the abortion services,” they provide, however. His clinics are counted among the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit being pursued by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Jonathan Mitchell, former Texas solicitor general who helped with the bill wrote in defense of it in a legal brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court which also calls for the overturning of Roe v. Wade:

“Women can ‘control their reproductive lives’ without access to abortion; they can do so by refraining from sexual intercourse,” Mitchell writes. “One can imagine a scenario in which a woman has chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to her later. But when this court announces the overruling of Roe, that individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court’s decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.”

The bill has become a lightning rod for the culture wars, with conservatives praising it as a truly bold step in overturning the controversial Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion via judicial fiat in 1973. The Biden administration has been accused of responding with harsher language than it used against the actual Taliban. It has ordered the Department of Justice to file a motion requesting either a preliminary injunction or a temporary order that would prevent the ban from going into effect (the law has already gone into force since September 1st).


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