Justice Dept. Asks Judge to Block Texas From Enforcing Restrictive Abortion Law

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Politics|Justice Dept. Asks Judge to Block Texas From Enforcing Restrictive Abortion Law


The section sued Texas past week implicit its precocious enacted law, which prohibits astir each abortions successful the state.

Abortion rights activists rallied extracurricular  the Texas State Capitol successful  Austin connected  Saturday.
Credit...Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

Katie Benner

Sept. 14, 2021Updated 11:43 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked a national justice precocious Tuesday to contented an bid that would forestall Texas from enacting a instrumentality that prohibits astir each abortions, ratcheting up a combat betwixt the Biden medication and the state’s Republican leaders.

The Justice Department argued successful its emergency motion that the authorities adopted the law, known arsenic Senate Bill 8, “to forestall women from exercising their law rights,” reiterating an statement the section made past week erstwhile it sued Texas to prohibit enforcement of the contentious caller legislation.

“It is settled law instrumentality that ‘a authorities whitethorn not prohibit immoderate pistillate from making the eventual determination to terminate her gestation earlier viability,’” the section said successful the lawsuit. “But Texas has done conscionable that.”

As such, the section asked Judge Robert L. Pitman of the Western District of Texas to contented a impermanent restraining bid oregon a preliminary injunction that would forestall enforcement of the law.

“This alleviation is indispensable to support the law rights of women successful Texas and the sovereign involvement of the United States,” the Justice Department said successful its brief.

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Representatives for Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, a Republican, did not instantly respond to an email seeking comment.

The Justice Department’s filing is the latest salvo successful the Biden administration’s combat to halt Texas from enacting a instrumentality that prohibits astir abortions aft astir six weeks of pregnancy, a deadline that often occurs earlier a pistillate knows she is pregnant, and authorizes citizens to enforce it. The instrumentality makes nary objection for pregnancies resulting from rape oregon incest.

The question comes 2 weeks aft the Supreme Court, successful a 5-to-4 decision, declined to artifact the Texas legislation. The bulk stressed that it was not ruling connected the law’s constitutionality and did not mean to bounds “procedurally due challenges” to it.

At the halfway of the ineligible statement implicit the instrumentality is the mechanics that fundamentally deputizes backstage citizens, alternatively than the state’s enforcement branch, to enforce the caller restrictions.

In its tribunal filing, the Justice Department called this mechanics “an unprecedented strategy that seeks to contradict women and providers the quality to situation S.B. 8 successful national court.”

It said that successful different cases wherever states had enacted laws that abridged reproductive rights to the grade that the Texas instrumentality does, courts had stopped those measures from taking effect.

Texas’ “attempt to shield a plainly unconstitutional instrumentality from reappraisal cannot stand,” the section said successful its motion.

The Supreme Court did not regularisation connected whether Senate Bill 8 was law erstwhile it refused to artifact the law. The Justice Department has placed its constitutionality astatine the bosom of the lawsuit, which could unit the tribunal to see caller factors and perchance travel to a antithetic determination if it hears the case.

Opponents and supporters of the Texas instrumentality admit that it is an tremendous displacement successful the nation’s conflict implicit abortion, which has agelong rested connected whether the Supreme Court volition overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 determination that granted women the law close to the procedure.

The Texas instrumentality fundamentally allows a authorities to each but prohibition abortions earlier a ineligible trial of that watershed case. If the instrumentality is not stopped by the courts, different Republican-led authorities legislatures could usage it arsenic a blueprint for their ain restrictions.

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