Dr. Alan Braid, a doctor in Texas, publicly defied the new state ban against nearly all abortions because of dedication to duty of care.
In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Braid detailed how he had defied the sweeping ban in order to provide an abortion to a woman who was in her first trimester, but past the state’s new six week ban.
He knew fully the risk of legal consequences, but said he refused to allow the state to get away with the unconstitutional ban, and wanted to force the state into defending its law.
The new state law in Texas makes all abortions illegal after around the six week mark of pregnancies, with zero exception, even for incest or rape. Most women don’t know they are pregnant by six weeks. The ban effectively therefore aims to ban all abortions. In an effort to circumvent the landmark precedent set by Roe v Wade, the stipulates that prosecutors cannot directly take criminal action against those who aid an abortion.
The enforcement of the law comes through lawsuits by private citizens. If the lawsuits are successful, the individuals who file the suits can collect at least $10,000 — turning citizens into bounty hunters against those who need abortions and anyone who helps provide it.
Following the Op-Ed, two former attorneys filed separate state lawsuits against Baird. Both doctors, one in Arkansas and one in Illinois, said they are not anti-abortion, but also want the state to have to defend its ban in the courts.
The former Arkansas lawyer, Oscar Stilley, said he does not want doctors and abortion providers so nervous about the law and its potential legal and monetary ramifications that they are unable to provide procedures.
Felipe Gomez of Chicago filed a lawsuit in San Antonio, which asked the court directly to declare the ban unconstitutional. He said the ban is a governmental overreach, and he filed the suit in order to hold Republicans accountable for their words and actions.
Baird was the first abortion provider to publicly reveal that he violated the new law. The state brought the law in on September 1. On October 1, a federal judge will hear arguments from the DOJ versus the state on whether he should place a temporary freeze on the law until court cases against the ban for being unconstitutional are heard.