NPR reports that a Texas doctor has intentionally violated Texas’ new abortion law, the so-called Heartbeat Act, in order to test its legality in court.
The doctor who reportedly did so is Alan Braid, a San Antonio-based OB-GYN.
Doctor admits it
According to NPR, Braid said he intentionally violated Texas’s law on Sept. 6 by performing an abortion for a woman in the first trimester of her pregnancy.
“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 in a Washington Post article explaining his act.
On top of his claimed “duty of care,” Braid said that he “wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.”
Braid said that he knew that in breaking the law he is “taking a personal risk,” but he said that “it’s something I believe in strongly.”
Sept. 6 was five days after Texas’s new Heartbeat Act went into effect. Signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) back in May, the law has thus far survived legal challenges.
Texas’ new law
As its name suggests, the Texas law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which for most pregnancies is roughly at the six-week mark. Braid admitted that the abortion he performed was beyond this six-week mark, and thus, a violation of the new law.
But while the courts have given the measure the green light up to this point, the Biden administration is doing its best to shoot down the law. And challenges to it, like Braid’s, will surely lead to more cases ending up in federal court.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently announced that Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a motion with the goal of temporarily stopping the Texas law from being implemented. Garland called the measure “clearly unconstitutional.”
It is indeed one of the strongest restrictions on abortion put in place since Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court cases that cemented abortion rights across the country.
It remains to be seen whether the Texas abortion law will survive a legal challenge to its constitutionality. Republicans are hoping that it will, particularly with the new makeup of the Supreme Court. But only time will tell if states’ rights ultimately prevail.