US to Try to Block Texas Law Banning Most Abortions in State

The U.S. government is moving Thursday to try to block enforcement of the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the country, a new statute in the Southwestern state of Texas that bans the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy. The U.S. Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote last week, allowed the law to stand, 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 upholding the new law in the country’s second-biggest state. The Justice Department called a news conference to spell out its case against Texas. 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 presages overturning or sharply limiting the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision favoring 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. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland suggested earlier this week that the Justice Department could intervene in the Texas case, saying that a 1994 law known as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act prohibits interfering with a person obtaining or providing reproductive health services. 

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