The Justice Division needs a decide to quickly block the Texas ban on abortion: NPR
In this file photo dated August 5, 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at a press conference at the Justice Department in Washington. Andrew Harnik / AP Hide caption
Andrew Harnik / AP
The Justice Department asked a federal judge in Texas to temporarily block enforcement of the state’s new law that bans abortion after approximately six weeks.
This move, an important step by the Biden government against the highly controversial law, follows a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department last week. The Biden administration asked the court late Tuesday to enforce the injunction while the lawsuit goes to federal court.
The Texas ban on abortion essentially halts the process in the country’s second largest state. Most people don’t know they are pregnant until six weeks ago.
In court documents, Justice Department attorneys said the Texas law, also known as SB 8, was unconstitutional and could not last.
An injunction “is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States to ensure that their states comply with the terms of the national pact,” the lawyers say. “It is also necessary to protect federal agencies, employees and contractors whose lawful conduct SB 8 purports to prohibit.”
The law was designed to make legal challenges more difficult for proponents of abortion law. It’s considered the strictest in the country, in part because it allows individuals to sue anyone who allegedly helps patients obtain abortions. Nor does it make any exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
Justice Department attorneys told the court in their filing on Tuesday that the law was “intended to create judicial barriers to the ability of women and vendors to bring lawsuits to protect their rights”.
Despite these obstacles, the Justice Department believes the federal government has “the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot protect itself from judicial review for its constitutional violations and to protect the vital federal interests that harm SB 8.”