The United States Department of Justice plans to sue Texas over its new law that bans virtually all abortions in the state, with no exceptions for cases of incest or rape, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The administration of US President Joe Biden is under pressure from feminist groups and some Democrats, who have asked the Justice Department to do everything possible to curb restrictions on access to abortion in the southern state.
This Texas law went into effect a week ago and prohibits abortion at six weeks’ gestation, when the fetal heartbeat can be detected and despite the fact that in many cases, women do not know they are pregnant. Nor does it contemplate exceptions in cases of incest or rape.
In addition, it allows individuals to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a pregnant woman to have an abortion if they believe they are violating the prohibition, and offers damages of up to $ 10,000 to the plaintiff if he wins the lawsuit.
On Monday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said he was urgently exploring all options to respond to Texas law, in order to “protect the constitutional rights of women and others, including abortion “, legalized by the US Supreme Court in 1973.
Meanwhile, she has claimed that the government plans to implement a 1994 federal law that protects free access to clinics that perform abortions, and punishes those who intentionally cause material damage to centers that offer reproductive services.
It is not clear what the Justice Department’s lawsuit could consist of, although it is expected to be based on the argument that Texas law illegally interferes with federal government interests, according to the New York newspaper.
Legal experts cited by the newspaper warned that the way in which the law is designed, which places the burden of its implementation on private citizens seeking rewards and not on Texas authorities, could reduce the federal government’s options to win. litigation, because it is not clear who should be sued.
The same experts point out that if the Justice Department wants to boycott the law, it could try to restrict federal funds to Texas, or find out if there are federal government facilities in Texas where abortions can be performed, since they would escape state jurisdiction.
Last week, hours after the Texas law came into effect, the United States Supreme Court, with a reinforced conservative majority, decided not to block the legislation, although it did not assess whether it was constitutional or not.