Even though Texas has passed the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country, Dr. Alan Braid is admitting in a very public way — an op-ed in The Washington Post — that he performed an abortion and is in direct violation of the law.
Dr. Braid begins by noting that he started his residency in obstetrics and gynecology in 1972, a year before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide:
“At the hospital that year, I 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.”
Roe changed everything for those who provide health care to women, Braid goes on to explain, but he fears the bad old days may be about to return in the Lone Star State:
“Then, this month, everything changed. A new Texas law, known as S.B. 8, virtually banned any abortion beyond about the sixth week of pregnancy. It shut down about 80 percent of the abortion services we provide. Anyone who suspects I have violated the new law can sue me for at least $10,000. They could also sue anybody who helps a person obtain an abortion past the new limit, including, apparently, the driver who brings a patient to my clinic.
“For me, it is 1972 all over again.”
What did Dr. Braid do? What a doctor should do: He put the needs of his patient above the law and performed an abortion:
“And that is why, on the morning of Sept. 6, 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.”
“I understand that by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit, I am taking a personal risk, but it’s something I believe in strongly. Represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, my clinics are among the plaintiffs in an ongoing federal lawsuit to stop S.B. 8.
“I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of health care. I have spent the past 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.”
Braid says he realizes there could be legal consequences for his actions. But he did what he believed was right as a medical professional:
We need more doctors like Alan Braid. And we need fewer politicians who are eager and willing to stick their noses where they don’t belong out of political expediency.