Biden DOJ to ask Supreme Court to halt Texas abortion law

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The Department of Justice is planning to ask the Supreme Court to halt the Texas fetal heartbeat abortion law, according to a report.

The move comes one day after a federal appeals court rejected the administration’s attempt to stop Texas from enforcing the state’s law, leaving the measure in place. 

The law, known as SB8, went into effect in September after the Supreme Court denied an emergency appeal filed by abortion providers. The Texas law has been seen as controversial due to its unusual structure, which leaves enforcement up to private citizens.

Anyone who brings a successful lawsuit against an abortion provider for violating the law is entitled to claim at least $10,000 in damages. Citizens can also bring charges against anyone involved in the procedure, including people who drive the woman to the appointment. 

Women who wish to undergo an abortion in the state must do so before a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically at about six weeks. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. 

Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the DOJ, said the administration plans to ask the Supreme Court for help to reverse the decision, but did not give a timeframe, according to the Associated Press. 

Joe Biden.
President Biden has slammed the Texas law, calling it “un-American.”
Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

It is unclear whether the Supreme Court will take up the case, as it already rejected the emergency appeal and this term is set to hear arguments on a separate controversial abortion case involving a Mississippi law that prohibited abortions after 15 weeks, but was successfully challenged by the state’s only abortion clinic.

While several measures to overturn or stop the law have failed, many women in Texas have traveled to abortion clinics in neighboring states. The state had around two dozen abortion clinics before the law took effect.

The Biden administration has slammed the Texas law, with the president calling it “un-American.” In September, President Biden directed the Justice Department to find ways to block its enforcement.

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