The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Thursday that it is pursuing a lawsuit against Texas over its newly implemented six-week abortion ban. The agency says that the law is unconstitutional.
“It is settled constitutional law that ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,” the lawsuit reads. “But Texas has done just that.”
“The act is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on the Texas anti-abortion law:
"The act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent" pic.twitter.com/K8VP2FR1gA
— Poli Alert (@polialertcom) September 9, 2021
The Attorney General believes that the Texas law, SB8, will influence other states to enact similar laws which infringe on the constitutional rights of women and violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
“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,” said Garland. “Thus far, the law has had its intended effect.”
“Because the statute makes it too risky for an abortion clinic to stay open, abortion providers have ceased providing services. This leaves women in Texas unable to exercise their constitutional rights and unable to obtain judicial review at the very moment they need it.”
The controversial legislation bans abortions after six weeks, once a heartbeat is detected. Private citizens can also file lawsuits against individuals that help or are seeking abortions. The private citizen that reports abortion seekers can receive $10,000 or more from the individuals violating the law.
“The statute deputized all private citizens, without any showing of personal connection or injury, to serve as bounty hunters authorized to recover at least $10,000 per claim from individuals who facilitate a woman’s exercise of her constitutional rights,” Garland said.
“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans – whatever their politics or party – should fear. If it prevails, it may become a model for action in other areas, by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”
President Joe Biden says the law is “almost un-American.”
“The most pernicious thing about the Texas law, it sort of creates a vigilante system where people get rewards to go out [and enforce it],” the President said.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law in May.
Health professionals and women’s rights advocates say that the gestational age in the abortion legislation is not aligned with natural science.
“When you factor in the time it takes to confirm a pregnancy, consider your options and make a decision, schedule an appointment and comply with all the restrictions politicians have already put in place for patients and providers, a six-week ban essentially bans abortion outright,” Dyana Limon-Mercado, Director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said.