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Women protest against the abortion law in Texas. Photo credit: Getty Images.
Women protest against the abortion law in Texas. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Justice Department sues Texas for its abortion law

The Justice Department calls the law unconstitutional and against federal law. 

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This Thursday, General Attorney Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department sued the state of Texas over the new law they have imposed that bans abortions after sixth week of gestation.
 
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Austin, alleges that the abortion law violates the Constitution's supremacy clause, which states that federal law takes precedence over state law.
 
"The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot evade its obligations under the Constitution and deprive individuals of their constitutional rights by adopting a statutory scheme specifically designed to circumvent traditional federal judicial review mechanisms", the lawsuit states.
 
In an unsigned opinion, the Supreme Court majority wrote that while the clinics had raised "serious questions about the constitutionality of the Texas law," they had not faced a burden that would allow the Court to block it at this time because of "complex" and "novel" procedural issues.
 
The Justice Department declined to comment on the matter. However, they have been exploring various legal avenues to challenge Texas' six-week abortion ban after the U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected a request by clinics to block the law from going into effect.
 
The Texas law was specifically designed with the goal of making it difficult for clinics to obtain federal court orders blocking enforcement of the law. Instead of creating criminal penalties for abortions performed after a fetal heartbeat is detected, the Texas Legislature has tasked private citizens with enforcing the law by filing private litigation against clinics and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion after six weeks.
 
After the high court decision made last week, President Biden asked the Justice Department to explore ways to challenge the law, and Garland has been under pressure from Democrats and abortion rights advocates to act.
 
"The Department will provide federal law enforcement support when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is attacked," Garland said. "We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act".
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