Justice Department seeks to block restrictive Texas abortion law

Democrats were outraged over a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing the restrictive abortion ban in Texas to remain in effect.

Now, President Joe Biden has vowed to employ the resources of his administration to fight the law, which effectively prohibits most abortions after a heartbeat is detectable, typically at around the sixth week of pregnancy.

“An unprecedented scheme”

According to Townhall, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has already filed a federal lawsuit to block the Texas law.

The agency is reportedly seeking a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the abortion ban based on prior Supreme Court precedent prohibiting restrictions on pre-viability abortions.

Another issue the Biden administration has raised is the Texas law’s provision allowing civil litigation against abortion providers rather than criminal or financial punishments imposed by state officials.

In the 47-page motion filed this week, the Justice Department wrote: “When other States have enacted laws abridging reproductive rights to the extent that S.B. 8 does, courts have enjoined enforcement of those laws before they could take effect.”

Texas sought to bypass such restrictions, the motion claimed, as part of “an unprecedented scheme that seeks to deny women and providers the ability to challenge S.B. 8 in federal court.”

“Whole-of-government effort”

As a result, the Justice Department concluded: “This attempt to shield a plainly unconstitutional law from review cannot stand.”

Defending its call for relief from the courts, the statement argued that it “is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact” as well as “to protect federal agencies, employees, and contractors whose lawful actions S.B. 8 purports to prohibit.”

S.B. 8 passed through the Texas legislature earlier this year and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law in May with an effective date of Sept. 1.

For its part, the Supreme Court clarified that its decision was not based on an opinion regarding the issues and merits of the case but rather on technical questions regarding standing. Nevertheless, Biden and other Democrats expressed dismay over the ruling.

In addition to Biden’s promise to “launch a whole-of-government effort” in response to the Supreme Court ruling, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced in a press release that the Justice Department “urgently explores all options to challenge” the Texas law.

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