This story was updated on Sept. 21, 2021.
Sept. 20, 2021 -- A Texas doctor revealed in a Washington Post op-ed Saturday that he violated the state ban on abortions performed beyond 6 weeks -- a move he knows could come with legal consequences.
San Antonio doctor Alan Braid, MD, said the new statewide restrictions reminded him of darker days during his 1972 obstetrics and gynecology residency, when he saw three teenagers die from illegal abortions.
“For me, it is 1972 all over again,” he wrote. “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. 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,” he continued.
According to The Washington Post, Braid's wish may come true. Two lawsuits against were filed Monday. In one, a prisoner in Arkansas said he filed the suit in part because he could receive $10,000 if successful, according to the Post. The second was filed by a man in Chicago who wants the law struck down.
Braid’s op-ed is the first public admission to violating a Texas state law that took effect Sept. 1 banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The controversial policy gives private citizens the right to bring civil litigation -- resulting in at least $10,000 in damages -- against providers and anyone else involved in the process.
Since the law went into effect, most patients seeking abortions are too far along to qualify, Braid 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,” he wrote.
“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 continued. “Represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, my clinics are among the plaintiffs in an ongoing federal lawsuit to stop S.B. 8.”