US Sues to Block Texas Law Banning Most Abortions in State

The U.S. government sued the southwestern state of Texas on Thursday to try to block its new law that bans abortions in the state after about six weeks of pregnancy, the most restrictive anti-abortion statute in the country. Attorney General Merrick Garland, at a Washington news conference, said the Texas law “is clearly unconstitutional under long-term Supreme Court precedents” granting women in the U.S. the constitutional right to have an abortion. He said the Department of Justice, in bringing the lawsuit against the country’s second-largest state, “has a duty to uphold the rule of law.” He said “all provisions” of the law concerned him.  The U.S. Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote last week, allowed the law to take effect, a decision praised by anti-abortion advocates looking to eventually overturn the court’s landmark 1973 decision declaring that women in the U.S. hold a constitutional right to have an abortion. Those supporting U.S. abortion rights, including President Joe Biden, derided the court’s late-night decision, which has stopped most abortions in the state. Biden warned that the law would cause “unconstitutional chaos” because it gives private citizens, rather than government officials, the right to enforce it by filing civil lawsuits against people who help a woman obtain an abortion after six weeks, whether it be a doctor who performs the procedure or someone who drives a woman to a clinic. The law allows people winning such lawsuits to collect at least $10,000 and makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. FILE – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks in the House Chamber in Austin, Texas, Feb. 5, 2019.Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott said this week that the state would strive to “eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas” by arresting and prosecuting them. He defended the law, saying women who were raped would still have six weeks to end their pregnancy. Many women do not realize they are pregnant at six weeks. Those supporting abortion rights in the U.S. fear the high court’s ruling allowing the Texas law to take effect presages an erosion or reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision establishing abortion rights. In its new term starting next month, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that the southern state of Mississippi adopted. 

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