President Joe Biden, who relied upon Planned Parenthood’s campaign cash a year ago, is now doing everything in his power to turn the abortion spigot back on in Texas.
“The Justice Department intends to ask the Supreme Court to vacate the 5th Circuit’s stay of the preliminary injunction against Texas Senate Bill 8,” DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley said in a statement, according to Politico.
SB 8 is the legal shorthand for the Texas “heartbeat” law that makes it illegal to perform an abortion after a baby’s heartbeat begins, which is usually around the sixth week of pregnancy.
Although heartbeat laws in other states have been swatted aside by the courts, Texas used an unprecedented enforcement mechanism. Individuals can file suit against anyone who has broken the law, and collect $10,000 if they win.
The Supreme Court has reviewed the law before and rejected efforts to prevent it from taking effect on Sept 1. At that time, the court said its decision was based upon procedural grounds and was not a full-fledged decision on the constitutionality of the Texas law.
The extent to which the court was split was revealed in the dissents filed. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all opposed the ruling.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were joined by three appointees of former President Donald Trump — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — in tossing aside the request to block the law.
Since the law took effect, The Washington Post noted, it has “ effectively halted almost all abortions in Texas” and the Biden administration has pulled out all the stops to block it.
For a few hours last week, it seemed the Justice Department had prevailed when District Judge Robert Pitman granted an injunction to block the law while court arguments over it continued.
Pitman’s ruling was short-lived.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay last week, which was followed Thursday by a ruling from the court that allowed the law to remain in effect.
That ruling triggered the Justice Department’s decision to appeal to the Supreme Court, much to the applause of Planned Parenthood.
“We appreciate the Department of Justice moving quickly to ask the Supreme Court to intervene, and Planned Parenthood is hopeful that the Court will use this new opportunity to stop this law, which has taken too much from Texans already,” said Helene Krasnoff, Planned Parenthood’s vice president for public policy law and litigation, according to NBC.
In a statement issued Friday, Texas Right to Life spokeswoman Kimberlyn Schwartz noted that the fight was not over.
“We are excited to continue saving hundreds of lives through the Texas Heartbeat Act. However, the battle is not finished. We expect the Biden administration to appeal to the Supreme Court of the U.S., and we are confident Texas will ultimately defeat these attacks on our life-saving efforts,” she said in a statement on the organization’s website.
In an earlier statement, Schwartz said the law was saving lives.
“The Texas Heartbeat Act saves approximately 100 lives from abortion per day, and we’re grateful that this tremendous impact will continue,” she said.
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