News and Analysis

Justice Department To Argue In Texas Abortion Lawsuit Case On Friday
Texans Rally At State Capitol Against New Abortion Bill AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on September 11, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Texas Lawmakers recently passed several pieces of conservative legislation, including SB8, which prohibits abortions in Texas after a fetal heartbeat is detected on an ultrasound, usually between the fifth and sixth weeks of pregnancy. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images) Jordan Vonderhaar / Stringer
Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department is set to make its arguments, Friday, at a hearing in its lawsuit against the state of Texas over the state’s recent pro-life law. 

Texas’s Heartbeat Act effectively outlaws abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, when fetal cardiac activity can be detected. As The Daily Wire previously reported, “The Texas law allows citizens to sue abortion providers and those who ‘aid and abet’ illegal procedures for a financial reward if the lawsuit is successful.”

According to The New York Times:

The Texas law bars state officials from actually enforcing it, a design intended to make it difficult to challenge in the courts. 

Usually a lawsuit aiming to block such a law as unconstitutional names state officials as defendants. Instead, the Texas law deputizes private citizens to sue anyone who performs an abortion or “aids and abets” a procedure. Plaintiffs who have no connection to the patient or the clinic may sue and recover legal fees, as well as $10,000 if they win.

The Biden administration got involved in blocking the new law, announcing earlier this month that it was taking legal action against the state of Texas. 

As reported by the Texas Tribune, state and federal lawyers will give their arguments in a hearing on Friday. “The case is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Pitman, a 2014 Obama nominee, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas,” the outlet added. 

The federal government has made several arguments as to why the Texas abortion law should be thrown out. 

“It is settled constitutional law that ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,’” U.S. attorneys reportedly said in the lawsuit. “But Texas has done just that.”

The lawsuit added that the federal government was bringing the suit “to protect other federal interests that S.B. 8 unconstitutionally impairs.”

It argued that the law “conflicts with federal law by purporting to prohibit federal agencies from carrying out their responsibilities under federal law related to abortion services.”

“Because S.B. 8 does not contain an exception for cases of rape or incest, its terms purport to prohibit the federal government and its employees and agents from performing, funding, reimbursing, or facilitating abortions in such cases,” it added.

The Texas filing reportedly said, “If the Department of Justice wants to expand its authority, it should direct its requests to Congress, not this Court.”

The Supreme Court previously chose not to stay the new law, allowing it to take effect. The reason for the high court’s ruling was due to the law’s enforcement strategy.

As The Daily Wire reported, “The law deputizes private citizens, granting them standing to file lawsuits against violating abortion providers rather than authorizing state agents to police them. The court dismissed the request, which names every state court judge and clerk as defendants, based on procedural grounds.”

Experts say that it might be hard to determine how the lawsuit will play out due to the recent Supreme Court ruling. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Justice Department To Argue In Texas Abortion Lawsuit Case On Friday