Texas doctor says he performed abortion after 6 weeks to challenge state’s restrictive law

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Abortion rights supporters gather to protest Texas SB 8 in front of Edinburg City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, in Edinburg, Texas. The nation’s most far-reaching curb on abortions since they were legalized a half-century ago took effect Wednesday in Texas, with the Supreme Court silent on an emergency appeal to put the law on hold.(Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP)

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect Dr. Braid graduated from the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A physician in Texas says he’s purposely performed an abortion in direct violation of the state’s new restrictive abortion laws.

In a Saturday opinion piece in The Washington Post titled “Why I violated Texas’s extreme abortion ban,” San Antonio-based Dr. Alan Braid revealed he’d given an abortion to a woman in her first trimester. Texas’ polarizing Senate Bill 8 bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, before most people even know they’re pregnant.

Many, including Braid, view the short window for abortion procedures a camouflaged ban on abortion by state Republicans.

In his piece, Braid writes in part: “…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.”

Legal consequences in the bill include the ability for individuals and organizations to sue other individuals and organizations who aid someone in getting an abortion outside of the six-week period. This could include abortion providers, family and friends, and even rideshare drivers who transport someone to an abortion clinic — all for up to $10,000.

SB 8 doesn’t make exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, an element of the bill many find particularly cruel. Braid says he often encounters these kinds of victims.

SB 8 has been widely condemned nationally, with President Joe Biden calling it “unconstitutional chaos,” and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland promising the U.S. Department of Justice would protect those seeking abortions while it urgently works to protect access to abortion.

The bill even made it up to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ultimately allowed the the law stand.

On Saturday, SB 8 protesters and supporters held opposing rallies at the Texas State Capitol, with one group dancing in praise of the bill’s passage and the other trying to raise noise to stop it from continuing.

“This law effectively overturns Roe v. Wade for people in Texas and we know it won’t stop there. If this is not overturned, similar laws could be enacted in states across the country, disproportionately impacting marginalized communities,” said the Austin National Organization for Women.

Braid, a graduate of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, writes that while he understands the risks he’s taking, his belief in securing abortion rights outweighs the fear.

“I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care. I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients,” Braid concludes. “I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.”

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