A Texas abortion doctor said in a Washington Post column over the weekend that he willingly violated the state's new heartbeat abortion ban and is ready to be sued in order to challenge the law in court.
Alan Braid, an abortion doctor in San Antonio, said in the column he believes the law – which prohibits an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected – is unconstitutional.
Braid said he violated the law on Sept. 6.
"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," Braid wrote. "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."
The law is unique in that it prohibits the state from enforcing it but allows private citizens to sue those who violate the law's text. It requires all abortion doctors to check for a heartbeat, which typically can be detected at six weeks.
It is known as the Texas Heartbeat Act.
Braid said he began working as a doctor in 1972, one year before the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide.
"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," Braid wrote. "Represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, my clinics are among the plaintiffs in an ongoing federal lawsuit to stop S.B. 8. 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. I can't just sit back and watch us return to 1972."
Last week U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, a nominee of President Barack Obama, refused the Biden administration's request to immediately block the law. Pitman has set Oct. 1 as the date to hear arguments from both sides. Texas Right to Life said it expects Pitman eventually to side with the Biden administration.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Cunaplus M. Faba
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.