The Justice Department is planning to sue Texas over its newly enacted abortion restriction law, according to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday night.
The report, which cited as its source unidentified “people familiar with the matter,” said the DOJ “could file a lawsuit as soon as Thursday, the people said, adding that the timing could be pushed back. 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.”
“Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday the Justice Department was urgently exploring all of its options, which legal experts said could include attempting to strip federal funding and trying to determine whether there are federal facilities within the state that could provide abortions,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Those experts warned, however, that novel provisions in the law, which prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, could make it harder for the federal government to prevail in a lawsuit.”
Among those, it said, is the fact that “lawmakers assigned enforcement to private parties giving them an incentive by authorizing damages of $10,000 or more if they successfully sued a defendant they accused of performing or aiding in an abortion. The law puts the enforcement powers in the hands of private citizens, rather than state or local officials, leaving its opponents without obvious individuals to sue.”
The Supreme Court ruled Sept. 1 against an appeal from abortion providers to stop the Texas law from taking effect. The new law prohibits abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat.
“Texans, like everyone else in this country, should be able to count on safe abortion care in their own state,” Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said in a statement on Aug. 30.
“No one should be forced to drive hundreds of miles or be made to continue a pregnancy against their will, yet that’s what will happen unless the Supreme Court steps in,” she said.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law on May 19.
“Our Creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. In Texas, we work to save those lives,” Abbott said at the time.
Under the law, abortions would only be permitted before a fetal heartbeat is detected, “which can occur as early as six weeks after a woman becomes pregnant,” The Hill reported.
“The law makes exception for medical emergencies,” it added.
Pro-life leaders were enthusiastic about the law.
“The Texas Heartbeat Act is the strongest pro-life legislation to pass the Texas Legislature since Roe v. Wade,” Kim Schwartz of Texas Right to Life told The Texas Tribune.
“This is a huge victory and could save thousands upon thousands of preborn babies. We look forward to the day that it’s going to be enforced — hopefully very soon,” she said.
“The strongest pro-life law in America is set to go into effect tomorrow in Texas. It would virtually ban abortions in the state and save the lives of thousands of children,” Live Action leader Lila Rose tweeted on Aug. 31.
BREAKING: The strongest pro-life law in America is set to go into effect tomorrow in Texas. It would virtually ban abortions in the state and save the lives of thousands of children. https://t.co/a81hoBAds8
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) August 31, 2021
Pro-abortion forces had hoped to use the courts to stall the Texas law — also known as Senate Bill 8 — as they have in other states.
“Texas has a compelling interest in protecting its most vulnerable from death by abortion.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.