A doctor in Texas says he broke the law and performed an abortion: ‘I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972’

  • A new law took effect in Texas this month banning all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
  • Dr. Alan Braid said in a Washington Post op-ed that he performed an abortion past that limit anyways.
  • “I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients,” he wrote.

A doctor said he broke Texas’ restrictive new law and performed an abortion, explaining his decision in an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Saturday.

Dr. Alan Braid, who provides abortion care in San Antonio, said he has spent nearly 45 years as a practicing OB/GYN in Texas, during which time he delivered 10,000 babies, conducted Pap smears and pelvic exams, and performed abortions.

“Then, this month, everything changed,” Braid wrote, citing the controversial Texas law that took effect on September 1 that banned all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with no exemptions for rape or incest. 

“It shut down about 80 percent of the abortion services we provide,” he said, adding that the law also allows him to be sued for at least $10,000.

But Braid said that on the morning of September 6, he performed an abortion for a woman who was in her first trimester but past the limit set by the new law.

“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,” he 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.”

Other abortion providers in the state have said they turn away most of the women who contact them seeking abortions since the new law took effect. Abortion rights advocates say most women do not even know they are pregnant at the six-week mark.

Braid said that he violated the law because he believes abortion is “an essential part of health care” and because he remembers what it was like when he began his residency in 1972, before the Roe v. Wade ruling the following year.

“At the hospital that year, I saw three teenagers die from illegal abortions,” he wrote. “I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.”

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