Gynecologist Alan Braid hopes to be sued, which will allow him to challenge the legality of Texas’ new abortion law.
Posted today at 01:16
The new law, which came into force on September 1, prohibits abortion – even in cases of rape or incest – once the embryo’s heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks pregnant.
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An American gynecologist said this weekend that he had violated Texas’ new abortion law, exposing himself to prosecution that could allow the constitutionality of this text to be tested in court.
In a column published by the “Washington Post”, Alan Braid explains having performed an abortion on September 6 on a woman who “was beyond the new limit set by the conservative state” in the southern United States.
The doctor, who has 45 years of professional experience, explains that he acted in accordance with his “duty of care” towards his patient, and out of respect for “his fundamental right” to be taken care of. “I know very well that there could be legal consequences, but I want to be sure that the bet of Texas, which seeks to avoid the examination of its clearly unconstitutional law, does not work,” he adds.
The new law, which came into force on September 1, prohibits abortion – even in cases of rape or incest – once the embryo’s heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks pregnant. According to its detractors, it contradicts the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the United States which recognized, from 1973, a right of women to abort as long as the fetus is not viable, that is to say at about 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Despite everything, the country’s highest court has so far refused to suspend it, citing “new procedural questions”. The text indeed includes an unprecedented provision: it entrusts the care of applying the measure “exclusively” to citizens, called to file a complaint against any person suspected of having helped a woman to have an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
This legal jurisdiction has so far made it difficult for federal courts to intervene: Abortion advocates typically sue law enforcement prosecutors, but in the case of Texas, they have not. no one to cite as long as no complaint has been filed.
Doctor Braid’s confession should make it possible to break this impasse. If he is sued, he can challenge the legality of the law and a court can decide. On Monday, abortion opponents appeared to seek to avoid this path.
The Operation Rescue group has thus announced that it has opted for an appeal before the administrative authorities to ask them to revoke Dr. Braid’s license, without activating the new law. A former lawyer struck out of the Arkansas bar and convicted of fraud, has taken this step, but his complaint is framed in such fancy terms that it’s hard to tell if it has a chance of success.
Another legal route has been opened in parallel by the government of Democratic President Joe Biden, which has filed a complaint directly against the state of Texas for violation of the Constitution. All of his actions could provide the United States Supreme Court with an opportunity to get to the bottom of the matter.
In the meantime, the high court, deeply overhauled by Donald Trump, has agreed to examine another law, emanating from Mississippi, which prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It could take the opportunity to unravel its jurisprudence in a lasting way. She announced Monday that the eagerly awaited hearing would take place on December 1, for a decision by June 2022.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my