A Texas physician was sued Monday for defying the state's new abortion law after publicly revealing that he violated the ban on the procedure to test whether or not it holds up in court.
Alan Baird, a San Antonio-based doctor, is the first abortionist to face litigation over the Texas law since it took effect Sept. 1 after two separate civil lawsuits were filed against him by former lawyers in Arkansas and Illinois.
The new abortion ban prohibits the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy and does not allow exceptions for rape or incest. It also permits private citizens to sue doctors, people who drive a woman to a clinic to receive an abortion and anyone else who aids and abets the procedure for at least $10,000.
Braid said in a column for The Washington Post that, back on Sept. 6, he performed an abortion on a woman who was still in her first trimester but beyond the six-week cutoff.
"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.
One of the plaintiffs, Oscar Stilley of Arkansas, told the Associated Press that, while he does not oppose abortion, he did want to force a legal review of the abortion ban.
"I don’t want doctors out there nervous and sitting there and quaking in their boots and saying, ‘I can’t do this because if this thing works out, then I’m going to be bankrupt,’" Stilley said.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-choice advocacy group, has vowed to defend Braid in court. Other advocacy groups are expected to join his defense.