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Justice Department sues Texas over a new law that bans nearly all abortions

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Justice Department sues Texas over a new law that bans nearly all abortions

Debra Candy, holds up a rate as she joins people gathered for a reproductive rights rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall on September 01, 2021 in Downtown Brooklyn in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

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“The act is clearly unconstitutional,” Garland said.

The 30-page complaint against the Lone Star State, filed in federal court docket in Austin, also accuses Texas of adopting “an exceptional map” to insulate the abortion law from legal challenges by empowering private voters to “attend as bounty hunters” against those that seeks out or assists in obtaining abortions.

The government is asking the court docket to declare the abortion law “invalid, null, and void,” and bar Texas from imposing it in any way.

“This roughly map to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party, will have to fear,” Garland said Thursday. “If it prevails, it may develop into a model for action in various areas, by various states and with appreciate to various constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”

“Nor want one mediate prolonged or hard to realize the damage that would be accomplished to our society if states have been allowed to place into effect laws that empower any private individual to infringe on another’s constitutionally protected rights in this way,” the U.S. attorney general said.

The law, which was signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, prohibits abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which usually happens around the sixth week of pregnancy. At that time, many ladies are detached now not aware that they have develop into pregnant.

The legislation, S.B. 8, contains an exception for medical emergencies, however now not for pregnancies as a consequence of rape or incest. Abbott this week defended the law, and said his goal is to “eliminate rape so that no woman, no individual, will possible be a victim of rape.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland announces a lawsuit to block the enforcement of new Texas law that bans most abortions at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021.

J. Scott Applewhite | AP

Rather than achieve public officials or law enforcement in charge of imposing the ban, the law empowers private voters to file civil lawsuits against abortion suppliers or anyone who “aids or abets” in an abortion after the six-week threshold. These lawsuits can yield at least $10,000 in “statutory damages” per abortion.

Critics say these rules successfully establish a bounty arrangement in characterize to sidestep the abortion rights enshrined within the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade.

However the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, denied an emergency achieve a question to from abortion-rights advocates for a temporary injunction to cessation the abortion law from taking attain on Sept. 1.

The majority, which included all three justices appointed by damaged-down President Donald Trump, wrote in a one-paragraph ruling that the petitioners had “now not carried their burden” on complex procedural questions raised within the case.

But they famous that “this characterize is now not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in dissent that Texas had successfully “deputized the State’s voters as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures.”

Planned Parenthood, one of the most groups that petitioned the Supreme Court to block S.B. 8, applauded the Biden administration for submitting the civil lawsuit.

“Honest now patients across Texas are scared, they are at a loss for phrases, and they are being left with nowhere to flip to access safe, legal abortion,” Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement.

“We hope this important subsequent step by the Biden administration will assist restore Texans’ ¬†access to the health care they want,” Johnson said.

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Justice Department sues Texas over a new law that bans nearly all abortions