The US Department of Justice on Tuesday night asked a Texas federal judge to temporarily suspend the state’s controversial new law that bans abortions after about six weeks.
The emergency motion calling for a temporary restraining order comes days after the DOJ sued Texas over the law, saying it was enacted to “prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights.”
The law came into effect on September 1 after being upheld in a 5-4 decision by the United States Supreme Court. It is the strictest abortion law in the country. Critics say many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant at six weeks – around the time a fetal heartbeat can first be detected – and the law makes no exceptions for rape or incest.
“It is clearly unconstitutional,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said last Thursday. “The obvious and expressly recognized intention of this legal regime is to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights.”
The Texas Heartbeat Act, or SB 8, was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May and empowers individuals to enforce it by allowing them to prosecute anyone who allegedly assisted a woman with an illegal abortion.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PROSECUTES TEXAS ON ABORTION LAW: “CLEARLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL”
“Texas has designed an unprecedented program that seeks to deny women and providers the opportunity to challenge [the law] in federal court, “the ministry wrote.” This attempt to protect a clearly unconstitutional law from review cannot stand.
The DOJ argued that the law conflicts with Roe v. Wade and “a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy before viability”.
In response to last week’s trial, Renae Eze, press secretary to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, said, “The most precious freedom is life itself. Texas has passed a law that ensures that the life of every child with a heartbeat will be spared the ravages of abortion. Sadly, President Biden and his administration are more interested in changing the national narrative of their disastrous evacuation from Afghanistan and reckless policies of opening up borders instead of protecting unborn innocents. We are confident that the courts will respect and protect this right to life. “
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Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment late in the evening.
Jessica Chasmar of Fox News contributed to this report.