Department of Justice files emergency order to halt Texas’ new abortion law

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 2:38 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 7:47 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KSLA) - The U.S. Justice Department asked a federal judge Tuesday, Sept. 14 to stop enforcing Texas’ new abortion law.

The law prohibits medical professionals from performing abortions on women once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, generally around the six-week mark of pregnancy.

According to the department’s emergency order, the law “prevents women from exercising their constitutional rights” and, therefore, violates the 14th Amendment.

The week of Sept. 6, the department also filed a lawsuit against the state for the law.

“The Act is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent,” said Attorney General Garland in a news release. “The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that no state can deprive individuals of their constitutional rights through a legislative scheme specifically designed to prevent the vindication of those rights.”

Attorney generals from 24 different states filed an amicus brief Wednesday in support of the Justice Department.

Texas Right to Life, a pro-life organization, helped get the bill passed. KSLA asked Senior Legislative Associate Rebecca Parma about the lawsuit and how the landmark case Roe v. Wade could play a role in its legality.

“Normally, pro-life laws are passed; they’re immediately sued by activists, federal judges, who hold them up in court indefinitely or for years, or they go unenforced by district attorneys. The ‘Heartbeat Law’ tries a new way with this private enforcement mechanism, letting those lawsuits go through state courts. The Texas Supreme Court can look at why this law was passed in our state with those compelling state interests. Trying this new way, I think, is going to be helpful for the law being upheld.”

Parma also noted the organization is encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny a request from Texas abortion providers to stop the abortion law from going into effect.

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