A Texas doctor was sued on Monday, Sept. 20, after admitting that he breached the newly enacted abortion ban in the Lone Star state.
The physician, Alan Braid from San Antonio, performed an abortion on Sept. 6, just five days after the Heartbeat Act went into effect.
The legal action against Dr. Braid was issued by Oscar Stilley, a former lawyer from Arkansas. According to The Hill, the plaintiff was filed in Bexar County after Stilley saw Dr. Braid’s public confession.
In an op-ed to the Washington Post, Braid not only admitted he conducted the procedure but also voiced his protest against the ban, which proponents had praised that it could secure thousands of unborn babies from being terminated.
“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,” he wrote.
The controversial ban only allows abortion for the fetus younger than six weeks old before a fetal heartbeat would be detected.
In 2019, more than 56,600 abortions were performed on Texas women, the bulk of them in the first trimester, according to state figures.
Critics of the ban argued that the timeline was too early, equivalent to six weeks. Most women would not even learn of their baby’s existence until later.
Braid said he continued with the procedure despite the law because he felt “a duty of care to this patient,” reports The Hill.
Stilley told the Post that he pursued the legal action as he felt the measure should be tested through court review, not because he supports abortion.
“If the law is no good, why should we have to go through a long, drawn-out process to find out if it’s garbage?” Stilley said, adding that he should qualify to earn the $10,000 grant for suing Dr. Braid.
It allows private citizens to contribute to its enforcement, that they could sue services or doctors for assisting a woman in violating the law and receiving up to a $10,000 bounty.
Stilley said he had called Dr. Braid’s office on Monday to inquire if the physician would regret that he breached the ban and prepared not to repeat his action, but he “wasn’t able to secure any such agreement despite respectful efforts.”
The bill accommodates emergency abortions, but no exemption is permitted in terms of incest and rape cases.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) had promised officials would work hard to eradicate rapists in his state while noting that abortion is still legal during the first six weeks of the pregnancy.