Department of Justice sues Texas over newly-enforced abortion law

Washington DC – The US Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Texas over the enforcement of anti-abortion Senate Bill 8.

Attorney General Merrick Garland held a press conference in Washington DC on Thursday announcing a lawsuit against Texas over its abortion law.
Attorney General Merrick Garland held a press conference in Washington DC on Thursday announcing a lawsuit against Texas over its abortion law.  © IMAGO / UPI Photo

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the US Justice Department is suing the state of Texas over the unconstitutionality of SB-8 – the newly-enforced abortion law that prohibits the procedure after just six weeks.

The legal action against Texas comes days after Garland announced the department's plans to help protect against the state's enforcement of the ban, which went into effect on September 1.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Garland said, "The act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent."

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He continued, "The Department of Justice has the duty to defend the Constitution of the United States and uphold the law. Today, we defend that duty."

The law prohibits abortions after the six-week mark, a time many women are still unaware they're pregnant at all.

But it's not just women who seek abortions that are in danger of violating this law. Those who assist or help a woman access an abortion in any regard can be sued for thousands of dollars. This includes healthcare providers, friends, family members, and even ride-share drivers.

Rather than having the state hand out criminal penalties for those violating the law, it essentially leans on private citizens for enforcement, asking them to file lawsuits against any healthcare provider or person that helps a woman seek out the procedure.

Garland said the law is "a legislative scheme specifically designed to prevent the vindication" of women’s constitutional rights.

The Biden administration is facing immense pressure to block the Texas statute after the Supreme Court failed to stop the legislation from going into effect. Biden has vowed to join the fight against the law, along with many politicians and TikTok activists who have publically spoken out against it.

Abortion rights advocates maintain SB-8 violates Roe vs. Wade, a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a Texas abortion ban in 1973, giving women the right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy.

Cover photo: IMAGO / UPI Photo

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