Biden Administration Sues Texas Over Restrictive Abortion Bill
Attorney General made a statement on Thursday stating the "act is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent."
The Biden administration has sued the state of Texas over the recent abortion bill that came into effect last Wednesday, which prohibits women from getting an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, roughly at about six weeks of pregnancy.
"After careful assessment of the facts and the law, the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas," said Merrick B. Garland in a press briefing on Thursday.
Garland vowed that the Department of Justice would protect individuals seeking abortions and clinics that provide the procedure and that the "act is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent."
On September 1, the U.S. Supreme Court denied blocking the Texas law with a 5-to-4 ruling after an emergency appeal was filed by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers on August 30 in hopes of prohibiting the law from coming into effect.
Abortion providers challenged the law's constitutionality using the high court's ruling on Roe v. Wade as precedent, which protects pregnant women's liberty to choose an abortion without excessive government restrictions.
The Attorney General went on to state SB8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, creates an environment where private citizens are serving as "bounty hunters authorized to recover up to $10,000 per claim from individuals who facilitate a women's exercise of her constitutional rights."
Under the law, women may not get an abortion even if the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest. Furthermore, citizens can sue women seeking abortions, receiving the bounties Garland referred to.
"The obvious and expressly acknowledged intention of this statutory scheme is to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible," he added.
President Biden previously condemned the law, promising a "whole-of-government" response last week after the law went into effect, calling the Supreme Court's decision not to block the law an "unprecedented assault" on women's rights.
"This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century," he said. "The Texas law will significantly impair women's access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes."
Additionally, the Justice Department made a statement protecting Texas clinics that performed abortions, which under the current law face risky and restrictive sanctions if found guilty of performing abortions past the stipulated timeframe.
"The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack," the statement made by Garland last Monday said. "We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services."