Gynecologist Alan Braid has challenged the State of Texas by recounting in an opinion article, published last weekend in the newspaper The Washington Post, that on the morning of September 6, he performed an abortion on a woman in Texas who was outside the deadline established by the new law to be able to interrupt her pregnancy (more than six weeks’ gestation). “I fully understand that there could be legal consequences [a mis acciones] but I wanted to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with trying to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being revised. “
With his text, Dr. Braid, with more than 45 years dedicated to gynecology in Texas, not only makes a plea in favor of the constitutional right of women to abortion, but also seeks to provoke lawsuits that end up in court and demonstrate that known as SB 8 (Senate Bill 8 or Texas heartbeat, the Texas heartbeat law) violates the US Constitution.The new rule contradicts the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, which in 1973 recognized the right of women to abort while the fetus is not viable, that is, around 22 weeks gestation.
What became one of the most restrictive laws against abortion in the country on September 1 prohibits the termination of pregnancy from six weeks of gestation, even in cases of rape or incest, once the heartbeat is detected of the embryo, when the woman is not even aware of her pregnancy. The rule came into force after the silence of the Supreme Court, which in a new gesture by the conservative majority, leaving after the appointments of three judges by Donald Trump, declined to comment.
Braid goes back to 1972, when abortion was not legal in Texas, and the year he graduated from Texas State University with a medical degree. “Unless a psychiatrist certified a woman’s suicidal intentions, abortion was illegal in Texas,” says the doctor. “So if the woman had money, we would refer her to clinics in Colorado, California or New York. The rest were left to their fate. Some crossed the border into Mexico, ”writes Braid.
In his simple but devastating story, the gynecologist affirms that in that year he saw three adolescents die as a result of botched abortions and that he will never forget one of them, a girl who came to the emergency room with a vagina full of rags, which caused him the collapse of his organs as a result of septicemia and his subsequent death.
The physician claims to have brought more than 10,000 children into the world, performed countless gynecological exams, pregnancy tests and carried out pregnancy terminations at his clinics in San Antonio and Houston (Texas), as well as the one he opened in neighboring Oklahoma.
But suddenly, on September 1, everything changed with the new law. “80% of the abortion services we offered have been closed and anyone who suspects that I have violated the new law can sue me and get $ 10,000. Anyone who helps a woman to have an abortion beyond the new limit can be reported to the judges, apparently, including the driver who takes my patient to the clinic ”, continues the gynecologist.
For Dr. Braid, the new regulations have returned Texas to 1972, the year of illegality and clandestine abortions. “I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe that abortion is an essential part of our medical care. I have spent the last 50 years caring for and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and see how we go back to 1972 ”, ends the doctor’s letter.
For now, Braid’s “provocation” has already had its first two responses. A man from Arkansas and another from Illinois have already sued the doctor, since the new Texas law allows any citizen to report who has assisted in the abortion, regardless of where they live.
In the Arkansas case, Oscar Stilley, who is described in the lawsuit as a “disgracedly disbarred” attorney, seeks to test the law, not prevent the Texan doctor from performing abortions. “I’m not pro-life,” Stilley said, quoted by the newspaper. The New York Times. “What I am trying to defend is the law, since we say that we are a country of laws. But where is the law? ”Asks Stilley, who includes in his complaint a description of his own legal problems, including a 10-year federal prison sentence for tax evasion and conspiracy. Also, for this 58-year-old man, this is a situation where he can never lose. “They will give me an answer in any case,” he explains in reference to the declaration that the law is unconstitutional or that they grant him the $ 10,000 reward.
From Illinois, Felipe Gomez, anti-abortion, has filed another lawsuit in San Antonio against Dr. Braid for breaking the new Texas law.
The great litmus test of Roe v. Wade, the name of the lawsuit that resulted in the nationwide legalization of abortion, will come in December, when the Supreme Court begins reviewing a Mississippi law that prohibits the voluntary termination of pregnancy after the 15th week, in a direct confrontation with the progressive ruling that he will turn 50 years old. In June 2022, the Supreme Court will fail, sealing the future of abortion in the United States.
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