A Texas abortion doctor is intentionally breaking Texas' new abortion ban, providing an abortion to a patient more than six weeks into her pregnancy since conception, to test the justice system under the new law.
"And that is why, on the morning of Sept. 6, I provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state's new limit," Dr. Alan Braid from San Antonio, Texas, wrote in The Washington Post, not mentioning how far along past six weeks the pregnancy was. "I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care.
"I fully understood that there could be legal consequences — but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn't get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested."
Texas' S.B. 8 worked to curb abortions beyond the sixth week of pregnancy by permitting Braid to be sued by anyone for at least $10,000.
"They could also sue anybody who helps a person obtain an abortion past the new limit, including, apparently, the driver who brings a patient to my clinic," Braid wrote.
Braid's Texas abortion clinics are among the plaintiffs suing in federal court to overturn Texas' law permitting doctors and accomplices to abortion after six weeks to be sued.
"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," he wrote.
Braid noted the Sept. 1-enacted law "shut down about 80% of the abortion services we provide."
"Since then, most of our patients have been too far along in their pregnancies to qualify for abortion care," he wrote. "I tell them that we can offer services only if we cannot see the presence of cardiac activity on an ultrasound, which usually occurs at about six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant. The tension is unbearable as they lie there, waiting to hear their fate.
"If we detect cardiac activity, we have to refer them out of state. One of the women I talked with since the law took effect is 42. She has four kids, three under 12. I advised her that she could go to Oklahoma. That's a nine-hour drive one way. I explained we could help with the funding.
"She told me she couldn't go even if we flew her in a private jet. 'Who's going to take care of my kids?' she asked me. 'What about my job? I can't miss work.'"
Braid warned removing access to abortion would endanger lives of Texas women, noting his 45-year abortion practice began after "in medical school in Texas, we'd been taught that abortion was an integral part of women's healthcare."
That was before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade in 1973 put in the precedent of a women's right to choose to have an abortion.
"I have daughters, granddaughters, and nieces," he concluded. "I believe abortion is an essential part of healthcare. I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can't just sit back and watch us return to 1972."
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