WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice has filed an urgent motion with a federal judge asking him to prevent Texas in the southwest from enforcing a new law that prohibits almost all abortions in the state.
In a 45-page motion filed in the Federal District Court late on Tuesday, the Justice Department argued that the drafting of this new law, commonly referred to as Senate Bill No. 8, was designed to “prevent women from exercising constitutional rights.” To get an abortion.
This urgent motion is the second legal action taken by the Biden administration against Texas on the new law after it filed a lawsuit on the same legal basis last week.
The new law went into effect on September 1 and prohibits abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy — opponents say this is long before most women even realize that they are pregnant — pregnancy caused by rape or incest is no exception.
Texas is one of more than a dozen states mainly led by the Republican Party. They have issued a so-called “heartbeat” abortion ban. Once a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, usually after six weeks, sometimes after a woman realizes she is pregnant. Previously, abortion would be banned.
In the past, courts blocked such injunctions and ruled that they were inconsistent with the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that gave American women the constitutional right to undergo abortions without excessive government intervention.
Texas’ anti-abortion law is also unusual because it gives ordinary citizens the power to enforce it, allowing them to sue abortion providers and anyone who “helps or abets” an abortion six weeks later. Those who win such lawsuits will be entitled to at least $10,000.
The Department of Justice described this provision as “an unprecedented program designed to deprive women and providers of the ability to challenge SB 8 in federal court.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision earlier this month refused to block the implementation of the new anti-abortion law in Texas, which angered supporters of Roe v. Wade, including President Joe Biden, who warned “Complete strangers will now have the right to participate in the most private and personal health decisions women face.”
Part of the information in this report comes from the Associated Press and Reuters.