Today's Paper Digital FAQ Podcast Latest Obits Her Jobs Classifieds Newsletters Puzzles Circulars
ADVERTISEMENT

Justice Department again presses to halt abortion law

October 12, 2021 at 10:00 p.m.
FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2021 file photo people participate in the Houston Women's March against Texas abortion ban walk from Discovery Green to City Hall in Houston. A federal appeals court is temporarily allowing the nation’s toughest abortion law to resume in Texas. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the order Friday, Oct. 8. (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

AUSTIN -- The Biden administration is again urging the courts to step in and suspend a new Texas law that has banned most abortions since early September, as clinics hundreds of miles away remain busy with Texas patients making long journeys to get care.

The latest attempt Monday came three days after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the nation's most restrictive abortion law after a brief 48-hour window last week in which Texas abortion providers -- following a blistering ruling by a lower court -- had rushed to bring in patients again.

The days ahead could now be key in determining the immediate future of the law known as Senate Bill 8, including whether there is another attempt to have the U.S. Supreme Court weigh in.

The law bans abortions in Texas once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually at six weeks and before some women even know they are pregnant. Although other GOP-controlled states have had similar early bans on abortions blocked by courts, the Texas law has proved durable because the state offloads enforcement solely onto private citizens, who can collect at least $10,000 in damages if they successfully sue abortion providers.

"If Texas's scheme is permissible, no constitutional right is safe from state-sanctioned sabotage of this kind," the Justice Department told the appeals court.

In wording that seemed to be a message to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department raised the specter that if allowed to stand, the legal structure created in enacting the law could be used to circumvent even the Supreme Court's rulings in 2008 and 2010 on gun rights and campaign financing.

It is not clear when the 5th Circuit court will decide whether to extend what is currently a temporary order allowing the Texas law to stand. The court gave the Texas attorney's general office until Thursday to respond to the Justice Department's latest arguments.

Print Headline: Justice Department again presses to halt abortion law

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT

Recommended for you

ADVERTISEMENT