Biden Administration Sues Texas Over Abortion Law

Texas FlagAdam Thomas

A federal judge heard arguments from both parties in a federal lawsuit challenging Texas' new pro-life law and will now rule on the issue.

The Justice Department of the Biden administration has filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas over the new Texas law.

After six weeks of pregnancy, when fetal heart activity may be discovered, Texas' Heartbeat Act essentially prohibits abortion.

"Under Texas law, residents can sue abortion providers and anybody who 'aid and abet' illegal procedures for a monetary prize if the lawsuit is successful."

Department attorneys for the state of Texas made their cases on Friday before Judge Robert Pitman of the United States District Court.

"The state engaged in an extraordinary strategy of vigilante punishment aimed at scaring abortion providers," said Brian Netter, a Justice Department lawyer.

"Abortions after six weeks are not prohibited in any state. Texas was aware of this, but it still wanted a six-week ban, so it embarked on an unprecedented campaign of vigilante justice aimed at scaring abortion doctors and others who could assist women in exercising their constitutional rights," Brian Netter added.

Typically, state officials are named as defendants in a lawsuit seeking to overturn such legislation as unconstitutional.

Instead, the Texas legislation empowers individuals to sue anyone who performs or "aides and abets" an abortion.

Texas lawyer Will Thompson argued "I don't believe the state went to particularly remarkable lengths," during the hearing as he urged the judge to reject the federal government's legal action.

"It's disappointing to see the federal government's practice of hyperbole and provocative statements persist."

The judge questioned the Justice Department about any potential constraints to the federal government's extensive authority to sue the state.

"If the state is so certain" in the validity of the restrictions on women's access to abortion, Judge Pitman pondered, "why did it go to such tremendous pains" to create a private right to sue?"

Even if Judge Pitman decides to issue an injunction during the hearing on Friday, it may not give the legal protection doctors need to resume performing abortions in Texas.

Even if an injunction is eventually overturned on appeal, litigation can still be filed up to four years after the abortion in question was done.

"A State may not ban any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability," according to the Biden lawsuit.

The lawsuit was brought by the federal government "to defend additional federal interests that S.B. 8 unconstitutionally jeopardizes."

The statute "conflicts with federal law by pretending to restrict federal entities from carrying out their responsibilities under federal law pertaining to abortion services," according to the lawsuit.

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