Alan Braid, Texas doctor, says he violated the state’s strict new abortion law
“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,” he wrote.
Braid wrote that he is affiliated with the Center for Reproductive Rights, the group that is already in federal court fighting the law.
“Dr. Braid has courageously stood up against this blatantly unconstitutional law. We stand ready to defend him against the vigilante lawsuits that S.B. 8 threatens to unleash against those providing or supporting access to constitutionally protected abortion care,” Nancy Northup, the center’s president and CEO, said in a statement.
Texas Right to Life, a prominent advocate for the abortion ban, told Fintech Zoom that the group “is looking into” Braid’s claim that he violated the law but that they “are dubious that this is just a legal stunt.”
“The abortion industry has struck out on their 16 previous attempts to stop this law from saving lives so far and this may be another attempt,” John Seago, the group’s legislative director, said in a statement.
Braid’s admission is another step for critics who are attempting to invalidate the law, but even if it provokes a lawsuit in which a court ultimately holds the law as unconstitutional, that still might not be enough for most providers to resume services.
“The problem is with how the law is designed,” said Steve Vladeck, Fintech Zoom legal analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
“A successful judgment in the doctor’s case doesn’t prevent other plaintiffs from suing him or other providers in future cases. And even though the plaintiffs will lose those cases, the doctors and providers are on the hook for costs and fees in a potentially limitless number of copycat cases. The only truly effective relief here is something that blocks all future cases from being brought—which is what the federal government is seeking in its suit.”
In an unsigned September 1 order in a case brought by providers, the Supreme Court majority reasoned that while the abortion providers behind the challenge had raised “serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law,” they had not met a burden that would allow the court to block it due to “complex” and “novel” procedural questions. The majority said that its order was not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’ law and “in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges.”
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s liberal wing in dissent, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor calling the court’s order “stunning” and the prohibition a “flagrantly unconstitutional law.”