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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to continue legal battle over Texas’ near-total abortion ban

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will ask the Supreme Court to block a Texas law that prohibits most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy while a challenge to it moves forward, a Justice Department spokesman said Friday.

A decision Thursday by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld its previous order last week that had temporarily allowed the law to be reintroduced, overturning a federal district judge in Austin who had temporarily its enforcement was blocked.

“The Department of Justice wishes to ask the Supreme Court to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s adjournment of the preliminary injunction against Texas Senate Bill 8,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Cooley said in a statement.

The 2-to-1 decision by a three-judge appeals panel dealt a significant blow to the Biden administration, as it seeks to undo a law that nearly outlawed abortion in the state of Texas.

Texas law, one of the strictest in the country, bans abortion if cardiac activity is detected at approximately six weeks of pregnancy, a time when women do not yet know they are pregnant. It also makes no exception for rape or incest.

After the Supreme Court refused to intervene, the law quickly outlawed most abortions in Texas when it came into force in early September. The demand for clinics in nearby states such as Oklahoma has increased as women seeking abortions after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas have been forced to move out of state.

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The Justice Department is suing Texas over the law’s unique enforcement mechanism, which it claims violates the Constitution, rather the state, by using private parties to enforce the law. This lets Texas technically comply with court rulings that many say do not prohibit abortion.

The law encourages private parties to bring a lawsuit against someone accused of performing or aiding in an abortion that violates the law by paying $10,000 to the plaintiff who successfully sued.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland called the enforcement mechanism an “unprecedented” effort to bar women from their constitutionally protected right to an abortion.

The department argued in its lawsuit that the Texas law is invalid under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which prioritizes federal law over state law, and under the equal protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment.

A federal district judge last week granted the department’s request to halt enforcement of the law while the legal challenge makes its way through the court system, giving the Biden administration a short-lived victory. But two days later, the appeals panel intervened.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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