US Justice Department seeks order against Texas abortion law
Will Abortion Dominate the 2022 Midterms?
It’s possible that given the current and near-future actions of the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion could matter more than ever to pro-choice voters.The legal calendar makes it entirely possible. Whatever the murky trajectory of legal maneuvering over Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson — the case that triggered last week’s Supreme Court order at least temporarily green-lighting a pre-viability abortion ban — compliance (so far) of abortion providers is giving pro-choice Americans a taste of what life was like before Roe v. Wade struck down state abortion bans in 1973.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has asked a federal court in Texas to stop the enforcement of a new state law that bans most abortions in the state while it decides the case.
The Texas law, known as SB8, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity — usually around six weeks, before some women know they’re pregnant. Courts have blocked other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas’ law differs significantly because it leaves enforcement to private citizens through civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.
The law went into effect earlier this month after the Supreme Court declined an emergency appeal from abortion providers asking that the law be stayed.
Democrats have a high-risk, high-reward plan to save Roe v. Wade
The Women’s Health Protection Act, explained.Last week, the Supreme Court permitted a Texas law that effectively bans abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy — before many people are even aware they are pregnant — to take effect. Meanwhile, the Court is expected to decide a case by June 2022, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which it could use to explicitly overrule Roe v. Wade.
In Tuesday night's emergency motion in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, the Justice Department said “a court may enter a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction as a means of preventing harm to the movant before the court can fully adjudicate the claims in dispute.”
The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman.
Video: How the Justice Department could fight Texas abortion law (MSNBC)
Last week, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in Texas asking a federal judge to declare that the law is invalid because it unlawfully infringes on the constitutional rights of women and violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which says federal law supersedes state law.
Big Tech Companies Helped Fund Far-Right Groups Pushing for Texas Abortion Ban
Corporate backlash to the Texas abortion ban has so far been narrow and targeted, but one notably quiet sector has plenty of room—and money—to work with: Big Tech. A review of public disclosures from Facebook, Google, and Amazon shows the tech giants have for years funded some of the most influential conservative political organizations and dark money groups responsible for the war on abortion rights. Those groups include The Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Committee for Justice, and the Republican Attorneys General Association.
The department made a similar argument in seeking the restraining order or temporary injunction and said that it's challenge would likely be successful.
“When other States have enacted laws abridging reproductive rights to the extent that S.B. 8 does, courts have enjoined enforcement of the laws before they could take effect. In an effort to avoid that result, Texas devised an unprecedented scheme that seeks to deny women and providers the ability to challenge S.B. 8 in federal court. This attempt to shield a plainly unconstitutional law from review cannot stand.”
Under the Texas law, someone could bring a lawsuit — even if they have no connection to the woman getting an abortion — and could be entitled to at least $10,000 in damages if they prevail in court.
The Texas law is the nation’s biggest curb to abortion since the Supreme Court affirmed in the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade that women have a constitutional right to an abortion.
Abortion providers have said they will comply, but already some of Texas’ roughly two dozen abortion clinics have temporarily stopped offering abortion services altogether. Clinics in neighboring states, meanwhile, have seen a surge in patients from Texas.
Why Republicans Are Scared of Texas’ New Abortion Ban .
For years, conservative legislators have passed increasingly restrictive abortion laws, knowing they’d be struck down by the courts. Now, Republicans are going to have to defend their views at the ballot box. And that might not go well for them.But if it’s the victory conservatives were hoping for, why aren’t high-profile Republicans celebrating it? Senate Republican leader Mitch Mconnell — never one to shy away from a political fight — had only this to say about the Supreme Court’s ruling: “I think it was a highly technical decision.