DOJ asks judge to block Texas from enacting abortion law

DOJ asks judge to block Texas from enacting abortion law
© Greg Nash

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an emergency motion Tuesday night to issue an order that would stop Texas from implementing its new controversial abortion law, which prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The DOJ argued in its motion that Texas adopted the measure “to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights.” It is specifically asking for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction to stop the implementation of the law.
 
“This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact,” the DOJ said in the 47-page motion.
 
“It is also necessary to protect federal agencies, employees, and contractors whose lawful actions S.B. 8 purports to prohibit,” the department added.
 
The legal action comes after the department announced last week that it was suing Texas over the restrictive law, which also allows most private citizens to file lawsuits against abortion providers and others if they suspect that they infringed on the new policy.
 
Successful lawsuits can be awarded $10,000.

Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' MORE at the time said the regulation is plainly improper because of the restrictions it imposes, and for the provisions that allow state residents to sue individuals who carry out or aid illegal abortions.

“The act is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent,” Garland said at a press conference.

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Abbott’s office, in a statement to The Hill on Wednesday, said it is “confident that the courts will uphold and protect that right to life.”

Press secretary Renae Eze also suggested that the department’s motion was a ploy by President BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE and his administration to shift the conversation away from the messy Afghanistan withdrawal.

“The most precious freedom is life itself. Texas passed a law that ensures that the life of every child with a heartbeat will be spared from the ravages of abortion. Unfortunately, President Biden and his Administration are more interested in changing the national narrative from their disastrous Afghanistan evacuation and reckless open border policies instead of protecting the innocent unborn,” Eze said.

Texas Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottBiden administration announces federal support for patients, abortion providers in Texas California dreaming did not become reality for Republicans Judge schedules Oct. 1 hearing on DOJ request to halt Texas abortion law MORE (R) signed the legislation — sometimes referred to as the "fetal heartbeat bill" — in May, and it took effect at midnight on Sept. 1.

The law, which makes an exception for medical emergencies, was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this month when the bench denied an emergency request from abortion providers to block the law.

Some Republicans lawmakers are now considering implementing similar legislation in their own jurisdictions, including those in Florida, Indiana, Arkansas and South Carolina.

- Updated 9/15/2021 at 11:51 a.m.