Biden's government to sue Texas over its abortion restrictions

Biden’s government to sue Texas over its abortion restrictions

The United States Department of Justice plans to sue Texas for its new law that bans virtually all abortions in the state, without exceptions for cases of incest or rape, reported this Wednesday the newspaper The Wall Street Journal.

The lawsuit could come this Thursday, although it is also possible that it will be postponed, according to the newspaper, which cites sources familiar with the case.

The Government of the US President, Joe Biden, is under pressure from feminist groups and some Democrats, who have asked that the Justice Department do everything possible to curb restrictions on access to abortion in the southern state.

The new law of Texas, which came into effect a week ago, prohibits abortion at six weeks’ gestation, when the fetal heartbeat can be detected, although in many cases many women do not even know they are pregnant. There are no exceptions in cases of incest or rape.

In addition, it allows individuals to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a pregnant woman to have an abortion if they believe they are violating the prohibition, and offers damages of up to $10,000 to the plaintiff if he wins the lawsuit.

On Monday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said he was urgently exploring all options to respond to Texas law, in order to “protect the constitutional rights of women and others, including abortion”, legalized by the US Supreme Court in 1973.

Meanwhile, he said the government plans to implement a 1994 federal law that protects free access to clinics that perform abortions, and punishes those who intentionally cause material damage to centers that offer reproductive services.

It is not clear what the Justice Department’s lawsuit could consist of, although it is expected to be based on the argument that Texas law illegally interferes with federal government interests, according to the New York newspaper.

Legal experts cited by the newspaper warned that the way in which the law is designed, which places the burden of its implementation on private citizens seeking rewards and not on Texas authorities, could reduce the federal government’s options to win. litigation, because it is not clear who should be sued.

The same experts pointed out that, if the Justice Department wants to boycott the law, it could try to restrict federal funds to Texas, or find out if there are federal government facilities in Texas where abortions can be performed, since they would escape state jurisdiction.

Last week, hours after the Texas law came into effect, the United States Supreme Court, with a reinforced conservative majority, decided not to block the legislation, although it did not assess whether it was constitutional or not.

Ben Oakley
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