Biden govt to call for halt to strict Texas abortion law

Biden govt to call for halt to strict Texas abortion law

The administration of President Joe Biden is slated to ask a judge on Friday to block a near-total ban on abortion imposed by Texas – the strictest law of its kind in the nation – in a key battle in the fierce legal war over access to pregnancy termination in the United States.

The Supreme Court allowed the Republican-backed law to take effect on Sept. 1, even as litigation over its legality continues in lower courts. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit eight days later to try to invalidate it.

During a hearing in Austin, the Texas capital, Justice Department attorneys will ask District Judge Robert Pitman to temporarily block the law, saying the state’s Republican legislature and governor enacted it “in open defiance of the Constitution”.

In the case Roe v. Wade of 1973, which legalized abortion throughout the country, the Supreme Court recognized the constitutional right of women to terminate their pregnancy. In December, he will hear arguments about the legality of an abortion law in Mississippi, in a case in which officials from that state are asking judges to repeal Roe v. Wade.

Texas law prohibits abortions starting at six weeks of pregnancy, a point at which many women may not yet have realized they are pregnant. It and the Mississippi measure are among a series of Republican-backed laws passed by several states that restrict abortion.

About 85% to 90% of abortions are performed after six weeks. Texas makes no exceptions for rape and incest cases. It also allows ordinary citizens to enforce the ban, rewarding them with at least $10,000 if they successfully sue anyone who helps provide an abortion after fetal heart activity is detected.

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