Texas Abortionist Seeks Test Lawsuit Under Heartbeat Act


In a Washington Post op-ed, Alan Braid, an abortionist in San Antonio, says that he recently “provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit” under the Texas Heartbeat Act. He says that he did so in order “to make sure that Texas didn’t get away with its bid to prevent this blatantly unconstitutional law from being tested.”

For three reasons, no one should sue Braid to give him the imagined test case that he is seeking. In ascending order of importance:

1. It’s not at all clear that Braid is actually admitting to have violated the Act. He states that the Texas Heartbeat Act “virtually banned any abortion beyond about the sixth week of pregnancy” and that his recent abortion “was beyond the state’s new limit.” But rather than imposing a time limit, the Act forbids a physician from “perform[ing] or induc[ing] an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child.” (Emphasis added.) I don’t know whether Braid’s language is cagey or sloppy, but it leaves open the possibility that he conducted the required test for the fetal heartbeat but did not detect one. Indeed, his abortion clinic maintains that it is “compliant” with the Act and therefore “cannot provide abortion services to anyone with detectable embryonic or fetal cardiac activity.”

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