Doctor who publicly defied Texas law by performing abortion has been sued in two lawsuits

Abortion rights activists in Maryland. Credit: AP

A doctor in Texas who performed an abortion in defiance of the state's new near-total ban on the procedures has been sued in what could be a test of the legality of the new law.

Former attorneys in Arkansas and Illinois filed lawsuits on Monday against Dr Alan Braid who claimed to have carried out a procedure beyond the six week limit.

He became the first Texas abortion provider to publicly claim he violated the law which took effect on September 1 and is the country's most extreme anti-abortion measure.

The legislation has been branded "un-American" by President Biden, while abortion providers tried and failed to get the law overturned at the Supreme Court.

Many pregnancies are often undetected at six weeks.

Dr Braid wrote in the Washington Post that he had performed an abortion outside of the legal window permitted in the law.

“I am taking a personal risk,” Braid wrote. “But it’s something I believe in strongly."

“I have daughters, granddaughters and nieces. I believe abortion is an essential part of healthcare. I have spent the last 50 years treating and helping patients. I can’t just sit back and watch us return to 1972.”

In 1973, the US Supreme Court issued its Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a nationwide right to abortion at any point before a fetus can survive outside the womb, generally around 24 weeks.

The new Texas law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks and before some women even know they are pregnant.

Prosecutors cannot take criminal action against Braid, because the law explicitly forbids that.

At the start of September, ITV News Presenter Tom Bradby reported on how the Texas decision could cause huge political upheaval as Democrats wanted to go to the White House to overturn the controversial decision

The only way the ban can be enforced is through lawsuits brought by private citizens, who don’t have to be from Texas and who are entitled to claim at least $10,000 in damages if successful.

Oscar Stilley, the former attorney in Arkansas who filed one of the lawsuits, said he is not opposed to abortion but sued to force a court review of Texas’ anti-abortion law. “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, of Cedarville, Arkansas, near the Oklahoma border, told The Associated Press.

Abortion rights demonstrators march outside of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Felipe N. Gomez, of Chicago, asked a court in San Antonio in his lawsuit to declare the new law unconstitutional, as he believes it is a form of government overreach.

“If Republicans are going to say nobody can tell you to get a shot they shouldn’t tell women what to do with their bodies either,” Gomez said.

The Biden administration is suing Texas over the new state abortion law.

The US Justice Department, which filed the lawsuit on September 9, has asked a federal judge to declare the law as invalid to "protect the rights that Texas has violated."

The Justice Department argues the law unlawfully infringes on the constitutional rights of women and violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which says federal law supersedes state law.