Sep 26, 2021 2 mins, 2 secs
She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection.” Dr Braid reasoned that to avoid such needless deaths, he had a “duty of care” to the woman whose newly illegal abortion he performed.

When a conservative state passes an abortion ban – as they do with some regularity – state employees are usually tasked with enforcing the law, those employees are named as defendants in lawsuits brought by pro-choice groups, and the law is blocked from going into effect by courts that declare it unconstitutional before any real patients are denied abortion care.

Pre-enforcement litigation failed on flimsy and artificial procedural grounds; what was needed was an illegal abortion, performed by someone willing to take on enormous personal risk, to create a test case.

In addition to the enormous service he gave to the patient whose abortion he performed, he also did a service to the pro-choice movement, and to women statewide.

Interestingly, the anti-choice movement doesn’t seem entirely happy that the lawsuits that enforce the abortion ban they championed are now actually arriving in Texas courts.

John Sego, a legislative director of the anti-choice group Texas Right to Life, which supports SB8, expressed displeasure that the law is being enforced – well, exactly the way it was designed?

Yet he also claimed that “Texas Right to Life is resolute in ensuring that [SB8] is fully enforced.” If Sego and other anti-choice groups want the law enforced, why do they oppose private citizens enforcing it, using the bill’s own remedy.

At any rate, it is hard to take Sego seriously when he says, “We believe Braid published his op-ed intending to attract imprudent lawsuits, but none came from the pro-life movement.” In fact Sego’s group is legally not able to file bounty-hunting lawsuits to enforce SB8: although the group established an “abortion snitch” website that seemed designed to solicit tips about possible defendants in SB8 enforcement suits against those who facilitate abortions, a judge issued a restraining order preventing Texas Right to Life from filing them.

But perhaps the real reason Sego is displeased with the lawsuits against Braid is that SB8’s bounty hunting enforcement system was only one small part of the anti-choice vision for the law.

It was an attempt to do by intimidation what the anti-choice movement was not confident they could do by law: strip Texan women of their constitutional right to control their own bodies and lives.


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