Biden administration sues to BLOCK Texas' six-week abortion ban: AG Merrick Garland says law turns citizens into 'bounty hunters' and 'is clearly unconstitutional'

 The Department of Justice sued Texas Thursday over its restrictive new abortion law – which Attorney General Merrick Garland branded as 'clearly unconstitutional' for violating Supreme Court precedents protecting a woman's right to an abortion.

Garland blasted the new law, SB 8, at a press conference at the Justice Department, where he said the US was seeking a preliminary and a permanent injunction to prevent state officials from enforcing the new law. 

He slammed what he called an 'unprecedented scheme to in the chief justice’s words “insulate the state from responsibility” – and singled out provisions that allow individuals under the new statute to sue abortion providers or those who aid or abet a woman who gets an abortion. State residents can seek up to $10,000 from such individuals who assist an abortion after a fetus reaches six weeks, in a mechanism lawmakers used to get around potential legal hurdles.

He was referencing a dissent by Chief Justice John Roberts, who called out the provision. 'The statute deputizes all private citizens without any showing of personal connection or injury to serve as bounty hunters,' Garland added.


Attorney General Merrick Garland branded a new Texas abortion law that outlaws the procedure at six weeks as 'clearly unconstitutional'

Attorney General Merrick Garland branded a new Texas abortion law that outlaws the procedure at six weeks as 'clearly unconstitutional'

Garland said the law does not rely on Texas executive branch to enforce the law, 'as is the norm in Texas and everywhere else.' 

The AG was picking up language employed by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a furious dissent, which said the law 'deputized the state's citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors' medical procedures.'

His attacks on the law came after the Supreme Court last week allowed the to go into effect with a late night 5-4 decision denying an emergency appeal while its most controversial provisions get litigated – without issuing a stay that would stall enforcement. The majority wrote that it was not purporting to issue a ruling on the substance of the law.  

Abortion rights advocates called it the beginning of the undermining of Roe. v. Wade by the Court's bolstered conservative majority. 

'The Act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent. Those precedents hold in the words of Planned Parenthood v. Casey  that "A state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,"' said Garland.

'SB 8 bans nearly all abortions int he state after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant, and months before a pregnancy is viable,' Garland said. 'It does so even in cases of rape, sexual abuse, or incest.'

Garland's denunciation of the new law came after the White House hammered Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his comments made during a signing ceremony – when brushed off a question about its lack of an exception for rape and incest by saying the state would 'eliminate' all rapists.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) came under fire after responding to a question about the law's lack of an exception for rape or incest. 'Rape is a crime , and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas,' he said

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) came under fire after responding to a question about the law's lack of an exception for rape or incest. 'Rape is a crime , and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas,' he said

This April 19, 2019, file photo shows a Planned Parenthood building in Houston. The Guttmacher Institute estimated the average Texas woman would have to drive 248 miles, up from 12, to get an abortion

This April 19, 2019, file photo shows a Planned Parenthood building in Houston. The Guttmacher Institute estimated the average Texas woman would have to drive 248 miles, up from 12, to get an abortion

A reporter asked Abbott why the state would 'force' victims of heinous sex crimes like rape and incest to give birth.

'It doesn't require that at all, because obviously it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion,' Abbott replied. 'That said, however, let's make something very clear - rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas.' 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded Wednesday: 'If Governor Abbott has a means of eliminating all rapists or all rape from the United States, then there would be bipartisan support for that. But given there has never in history of the country, in the world, been any leader who's ever been able to eliminate rape, eliminate rapists from our streets, it's even more imperative, it's one of the many reasons I should say, not the only reason, why women in Texas have access to health care.'  


The White House has avoided providing specifics about how it would respond to the new law, often pointing to the Justice Department and saying the agency would act independently. 

But Biden issued his own blistering statement last week in response to the law. 'This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest,' he wrote. He said he would direct government lawyers 'to launch a whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision' and “to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe [v. Wade], and what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.'

Outside conservative legal groups have accused Biden of politicizing the agency he vowed to reform after former President Donald Trump repeatedly calling for investigations of political enemies, with Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action calling the agency 'the most political and weaponized DOJ.' 

Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday the nation needs to 'codify' Roe v. Wade through legislation. 

She called SB8 an 'abortion bounty law empowering vigilantes.' 

Said NARAL Pro-Choice America in a statement: 'This draconian, dystopian ban on abortion is “in open defiance of the Constitution 

The DOJ on Thursday sued Texas after President Joe Biden vowed to challenge a new law that almost entirely bans abortion in the state, as Democrats fear the right to abortion established 50 years ago may be at risk.

Full details of the lawsuit challenging the state law in federal court were not immediately available in a court filing system.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/texas-six-week-abortion-ban-takes-effect-2021-09-01 let stand the Texas law banning abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, before many woman realize they are pregnant. The decision represented a major victory for social conservatives who have been trying to ban the procedure since the court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision established the constitutional right to abortion.

Biden has warned the law would cause "unconstitutional chaos https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-supreme-court-declines-block-texas-abortion-ban-2021-09-02 " because it relies on private citizens to enforce it by filing civil lawsuits against people who help a woman obtain an abortion after six weeks, whether it be a doctor who performs the procedure or a cabbie who drives a woman to a clinic.

The law allows the people who sue to receive bounties of at least $10,000 and makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest, although there are some very narrowly defined exemptions for the mother's health. Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott defended the law this week, saying that the state would "eliminate all rapists."

The Supreme Court's decision not to block the Texas law left abortion-rights activists worried that the court, on which conservatives hold a 6-3 majority, may be open to overturning Roe when it hears a case involving a Mississippi abortion ban later this year.

The action marked the second major lawsuit the Biden administration has filed this year trying to block a move by a Republican-controlled state government. The Justice Department sued https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/us-sue-georgia-over-restrictive-new-state-voting-law-source-2021-06-25 Georgia in June, challenging the state's sweeping new voting law.

In another sign of the administration's abortion-rights push, Vice President Kamala Harris was due to meet with abortion and reproductive health providers and patients on Thursday.

Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this week foreshadowed that the Justice Department could intervene https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-justice-dept-says-will-protect-texas-abortion-clinics-that-come-under-attack-2021-09-06, saying the department would "protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services" through a 1994 law known as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

The FACE Act prohibits the use of force and physical obstruction to interfere with a person obtaining or providing reproductive health services.

Because it takes several weeks before pregnancy can even be detected on a standard urine test, the Texas law means that women there could have just a one- or two-week window to seek an abortion before being banned from doing do. Some 85% to 90% of abortion procedures take place after six weeks of pregnancy, and leaving the ban in place could cause clinics to close, abortion-rights groups warned.

A majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. Some 52% said it should be legal in most or all cases, with just 36% saying it should be illegal in most or all cases.

But it remains a deeply polarizing issue, with a majority of Democrats supporting abortion rights and a majority of Republicans opposing them. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, additional reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman)

Biden administration sues to BLOCK Texas' six-week abortion ban: AG Merrick Garland says law turns citizens into 'bounty hunters' and 'is clearly unconstitutional' Biden administration sues to BLOCK Texas' six-week abortion ban: AG Merrick Garland says law turns citizens into 'bounty hunters' and 'is clearly unconstitutional' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:45 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.