Texas has passed an extremely restrictive law, effectively eliminating a woman’s right to have an abortion by authorizing any person to sue and collect damages from anyone who provides any kind of assistance to women seeking abortions, and completely stacking the legal deck in favor of the people seeking the bounties.
A doctor in Texas who performs abortions and recalls what it was like in the days before 1972 when abortions were illegal in that state, has decided to challenge the law by performing an abortion and then publicly announcing it.
Protesting a Texas law which outlaws abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and empowers citizens to sue providers and anyone who helps them, a San Antonio doctor said he had provided an abortion beyond the new legal limit.
“I am taking a personal risk,” Alan Braid wrote for the Washington Post. “But it’s something I believe in strongly.
“… I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of healthcare. I have spent the last 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.”
Braid said he began work in Texas in a pre-Roe world, starting a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at a hospital in San Antonio in July 1972.
“At the time, abortion was effectively illegal in Texas – unless a psychologist certified a woman was suicidal. If the woman had money, we’d refer her to clinics in Colorado, California or New York. The rest were on their own. Some traveled across the border to Mexico.”
That year, he said, he saw “three teenagers die from illegal abortions”.
“One I will never forget. When she came into the ER, her vaginal cavity was packed with rags. She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection.”
Braid said women who come to his clinic often say why they need an abortion.
“They’re finishing school or they already have three children, they’re in an abusive relationship, or it’s just not time. A majority are mothers. Most are between 18 and 30. Many are struggling financially.”
Braid wrote: “Several times a month, a woman confides that she is having the abortion because she has been raped. Sometimes, she reports it to the police; more often, she doesn’t.
“Texas’s new law makes no exception for rape or incest.”
Describing how women must again be referred out of state, Braid wrote: “For me, it’s 1972 all over again.
“And that is why, on the morning of 6 September, I provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit. 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.”
Part of the motivation for this law is the desire by some to control women, to prevent them from having sexual freedom. A former state solicitor general Jonathan Mitchell, an architect of the current law, has said that women who want to avoid any unwanted pregnancy can simply not have sex.
What next in Texas, chastity belts?