A U.S. district judge has denied a request from the Biden-Harris Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the Texas Heartbeat Act.
The DOJ wanted a temporary injunction placed against the law, which restricts abortion after a heartbeat can be detected, typically at about six weeks gestation. The law is unique in that it allows abortionists who violate the law to be sued by private citizens for up to $10,000 in damages. It specifically bars women who undergo abortions from being sued.
Earlier this month, the DOJ announced it would be suing Texas in an effort to overturn the law, with a hearing scheduled on October 1. The DOJ wanted a temporary restraining order placed until then, which United States District Judge Robert Pitman, an Obama appointee, denied.
The DOJ argued that the law violates women’s constitutional rights.
“Because all providers in Texas are adhering to SB 8 the vast majority of women seeking abortions in Texas are being turned away,” the DOJ said. “All the while, clinics in neighboring states are receiving panicked calls from patients in Texas and continue to see ‘large increases in minor patients, survivors of sexual assault, patients with a maternal or fetal diagnosis, and patients with later gestational ages.”
Pitman additionally refused a request from the DOJ to hold the hearing sooner. He said that Texas “wished to be heard,” and gave the state of Texas the chance to argue their case by September 29. The DOJ, meanwhile, has until October 1 to respond.
The Texas Tribune noted that Pitman likewise threw out a lawsuit filed by abortionists to overturn the law. He issued a stay on the lawsuit, meaning it cannot return to court until the stay is lifted.
Renae Eze, the press secretary for Governor Greg Abbott, told The Hill they expect courts to uphold the law and protect life.
“The most precious freedom is life itself,” she said. “Texas passed a law that ensures that the life of every child with a heartbeat will be spared from the ravages of abortion,” Eze said in statement to The Hill on Thursday. “Unfortunately, President Biden and his Administration are more interested in changing the national narrative from their disastrous Afghanistan evacuation and reckless open border policies instead of protecting the innocent unborn.”
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Author: Cassy Fiano-Chesser
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