A Texas OBGYN, who admitted in Washington Post op-ed to violating a new state law that drastically limits a woman's access to an abortion, is being sued.
The Washington Post reports that former attorney, Oscar Stilley, filed the lawsuit.
Tilley, who the Washington Post says is serving a 15-year home confinement sentence for tax fraud, said he is not opposed to the law but believes it should be litigated.
Writing for The Post, Dr. Alan Braid said that on Sept. 6, he granted an abortion to a woman who was in the first trimester of her pregnancy even though he detected the unborn baby's heartbeat.
"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," Braid said. "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."
The Texas law, known as SB8, went into effect on Sept. 1. Later that day, the Supreme Court ruled that it would allow the law to be enforced while courts sort through lawsuits filed by opponents in the hopes of stopping it.
The law prevents doctors from providing abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat — something that happens at six weeks, or before many women even realize they are pregnant. It does not make exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The law is enforced by private citizens, who can sue and seek up to $10,000 from anyone who assists in an illegal abortion — be they doctors, clinic staff or those who drive women to their appointment.
Braid said that the new law "shut down about 80 percent of the abortion services we provide."
In criticizing the law, Braid said it was "back to 1972 all over again" — the year that the San Antonio physician began practicing medicine in the state. That year, he said that he saw three women die after they attempted an illegal abortion.
"In medical school in Texas, we'd been taught that abortion was an integral part of women's health care," Braid wrote. "When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973, recognizing abortion as a constitutional right, it enabled me to do the job I was trained to do."
In recent weeks, Braid said he referred most women seeking an abortion — most of who whom are mothers — out of state. He wrote that for many, it's not possible to leave the state for such medical care.
He described the case of a 42-year-old patient, a mother of four, who he referred to a clinic in Oklahoma — a nine-hour drive. Even though he offered to help with the funding, the woman said, "she couldn't go even if we flew her in a private jet.
'Who's going to take care of my kids?' she asked me," Braid wrote. "'What about my job? I can't miss work.'"
Braid said his office is currently among the clinics involved in a lawsuit in an attempt to strike down the law.
"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," he wrote.