The Biden administration and Justice Department (DOJ) are preparing to file suit against Texas over its new law banning abortions after six weeks, a law that amounts to a near-total ban on abortion in the first place, and also allows for regular people to enforce it and collect up to $10,000 in court if they accuse someone successfully of aiding someone in getting an abortion after six weeks. A source familiar with the matter confirmed to several news stations that a lawsuit could be filed in the coming days.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the federal government is looking to step in to put a halt to the Texas anti-abortion law which recently went into effect. “The Biden administration has faced pressure from Democrats and abortion-rights groups to take action to stop the Texas restrictions after the Supreme Court last week allowed them to take effect,” the publication reports.
And the course of action seems to be pointing toward a lawsuit. The Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit that argues Texas’s law illegally interferes with the federal government’s interests, the publication reports. However, it’s still not fully clear what that will look like.
In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the DOJ was “urgently” exploring the available options to challenge the Texas law in court. The law, called the Texas Heartbeat Act or Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8), allows private citizens to sue anyone performing or aiding in abortion after six weeks, a time where most pregnant people don’t know they’re pregnant yet. The law also locks cases in state courts, ensuring that it can never be brought up to the federal level and therefore cannot technically be considered as a violation of Roe v. Wade (even though it clearly is) by state courts who have to follow the law that bans abortion at six weeks, rather than simply fetal viability.
The Supreme Court’s ruling overnight is an unprecedented assault on constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade. Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private of health decisions. The law does not even allow exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 2, 2021
Garland and the federal government have stated they’re committed to exploring ways to challenge SB 8. “While the Justice Department urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB 8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion, we will continue to protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services pursuant to our criminal and civil enforcement of the FACE Act, 18 U.S.C. § 248,” Garland said. The FACE Act ensures that anyone trying to get to the reproductive health centers, or even religious center, for any reason has a safe entry to and from where they are trying to go. It also prohibits defacing the facilities.
And while enforcing the FACE Act is good and well, all it does is ensure that people who can legally get abortions don’t face intimidation while trying to do so. In the meantime, the more serious problem — that the law exists at all — is still not solved.