Justice Department Sues Texas Over Six-Week Abortion Ban

By Bill Galluccio

September 9, 2021

Attorney General Merrick Garland Announces Civil Enforcement Action
Photo: Getty Images

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Texas over its new law that bans abortions after six weeks. Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the law is "in open defiance of the Constitution."

"The act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent," Garland said during a press conference. "Those precedents hold, in the words of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that 'regardless of whether exceptions are made for particular circumstances, a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.'"

The law allows private citizens to file lawsuits against abortion providers and those who assist women in getting an abortion. Garland said that the law has forced abortion clinics over fears they will be sued by private citizens.

"Because this statute makes it too risky for an abortion clinic to stay open, abortion providers have ceased providing services," he said. "This leaves women in Texas unable to exercise their constitutional rights and unable to obtain judicial review at the very moment they need it."

The Justice Department is seeking a permanent injunction against the law.

"The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot evade its obligations under the Constitution and deprive individuals of their constitutional rights by adopting a statutory scheme designed specifically to evade traditional mechanisms of federal judicial review," the lawsuit states.

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