Justice Dept. Asks Judge to Block Texas From Enforcing Restrictive Abortion Law

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The New York Times 14 September, 2021 - 10:43pm 36 views

Is abortion illegal in Texas?

Abortion in Texas is illegal after 6 weeks of pregnancy since September 2021 due to the Texas Heartbeat Act, which abortion providers have described as a de facto ban on abortions, as it covers abortion once "cardiac motion" in the embryo can be detected, which is earlier than most people know that they're pregnant. wikipedia.orgAbortion in Texas - Wikipedia

Rex Ryan has never been one to mince words.

His latest rant came Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up!” when the former New York Jets head coach announced it was time for the New York Giants to move on from quarterback Daniel Jones.

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Jones and the Giants lost their season opener on Sunday, falling 27-13 to the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Yes, Jones threw for 267 yards and one touchdown. And yes, he ran for a four-yard touchdown. But Jones also had a game-changing red-zone fumble in the third quarter.

Jones doesn’t have much time to wallow in self-pity, because it’s a short week for the Giants, who visit the Washington Football Team Thursday at FedEx Field.

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Charen: Anti-abortion cause deserves better than the Texas law

Austin American-Statesman 14 September, 2021 - 11:20pm

The Texas Heartbeat Act currently causing such angst may be remembered as a sideshow. Bear in mind that in declining to issue an injunction, the Supreme Court did not endorse the substance of the law. It ruled only that the appellees lacked standing. The drafters cleverly designed a scheme to evade an injunction, and they succeeded. But to what end?

In due course, someone will sue an abortion provider or a best friend who gave a pregnant woman the name of a clinic, and the defendants will respond by challenging the constitutionality of the law. At that stage, the Texas Heartbeat Act will wend its way through the courts and wind up at the Supreme Court. So, for a period of weeks or months, it will be nearly impossible to obtain a legal abortion in Texas.

Mississippi's law, by contrast, is a straight-up challenge to the "undue burden" standard enunciated in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. It would ban abortions after 15 weeks' gestation except in cases of health emergencies and fetal abnormalities. There are no bounty hunters or nosy neighbors looking to settle a score or teach someone a lesson.

The Court has not yet upheld a state law limiting pre-viability abortions, but Dobbs may be the case that does so.

It would be far healthier for our society if citizens were asked to debate and decide these matters for themselves, in their own states, without the help of nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. These are exactly the sort of issues that free people must grapple with if they want to be considered self-governing. Nearly every poll on abortion has found that most Americans favor legal abortion in the first 12 weeks and oppose it (to varying degrees) thereafter. Polls asking whether Americans support Roe are useless because few know what it says.

I'm not optimistic that compromise or mutual understanding is possible on this issue, but let me offer some personal recollections that may help. My husband and I, as adoptive parents, were active in adoption charities and advocacy for many years. Adoption brings together people from both sides of the abortion divide. We met Hillary Clinton and Mary McGrory, a fierce liberal columnist who was on former President Richard Nixon's enemies list, at adoption events, as well as former Republican Congressman and Majority Whip Tom DeLay. He and his wife had raised three foster children.

I was happy to help Erica Pelman launch In Shifra's Arms, a Jewish charity dedicated to helping women who experience crisis pregnancies. ISA was clear from the outset that its goal was to help women, not to lobby about changing laws. There were pro-choice and pro-life women on the board, united in the desire to let women know that they were not alone.

Adoption is a loving alternative to abortion. Perhaps we can begin to listen to and hear each other if we start there.

Businesses May Leave Texas Over Anti-Abortion Law

Idaho News 6 14 September, 2021 - 11:20pm

Justice Department files emergency order to block Texas abortion law

CBS News 14 September, 2021 - 10:35pm

"The United States seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of S.B. 8," the department said. "This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact. It is also necessary to protect federal agencies, employees, and contractors whose lawful actions S.B. 8 purports to prohibit."

The department claims the law, which went into effect two weeks ago, violates the 14th Amendment.

"It is well-settled that the Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from banning abortion before a fetus is viable," the filing said. "Because S.B. 8 has that effect, it is plainly unconstitutional under binding precedent."

The department also alleged that the law violates the Supremacy Clause, which places federal law above state law in various circumstances, and "irreparably injures" the federal government because it is designed to avoid being challenged in court.

"The Act harms the United States' interest in ensuring that States do not evade their obligations under the Constitution and then try to insulate their actions from judicial review, as well as its interest in protecting the constitutional rights of women in its care and custody," the filing said. "To allow States to circumvent the Federal Constitution in this manner would offend the basic federal nature of the Union. Thus, the unconstitutionality of S.B. 8 alone suffices to establish irreparable harm." 

The Justice Department also argued that the law is driving many to seek abortions outside of Texas, "overburdening out-of-state clinics and creating backlogs for residents of other states seeking care." 

In addition to outlawing abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — before most women know they're pregnant — the measure allows private citizens to bring civil lawsuits against anyone who provides an abortion after six weeks or helps a woman access the procedure, such as a friend who drives a woman to obtain an abortion, or clinic staff. Those found in violation of the law are required to pay at least $10,000 to the person who successfully brought the suit.

The department on Tuesday said that, if a restraining order is granted, not only should the law not be enforced while it's in place, but those who try to enforce S.B. 8 should be informed they no longer have the authority the law granted them while it is being litigated. 

Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the measure into law in May, with Texas joining a dozen other states that have passed laws banning abortions at early stages in pregnancy. Known as "heartbeat bills," they seek to ban the procedures after a fetal heartbeat can first be detected. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement after the Texas abortion ban took effect earlier this month promising the Justice Department would "continue to protect" the safety of Texas women seeking abortions.

President Biden called the law "extreme" in a statement and said it "blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century."

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, abortion clinics on Monday asked the Supreme Court to block the state's 15-week abortion ban, saying that the law would upend 50 years of precedent and open the door for other states to outlaw abortion outright. The court will hear the blockbuster dispute over Mississippi's abortion law in its upcoming term, which begins in October. 

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Justice Department files emergency order to block Texas abortion law

Axios 14 September, 2021 - 10:35pm

"The United States seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of S.B. 8," the department said. "This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact. It is also necessary to protect federal agencies, employees, and contractors whose lawful actions S.B. 8 purports to prohibit."

The department claims the law, which went into effect two weeks ago, violates the 14th Amendment.

"It is well-settled that the Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from banning abortion before a fetus is viable," the filing said. "Because S.B. 8 has that effect, it is plainly unconstitutional under binding precedent."

The department also alleged that the law violates the Supremacy Clause, which places federal law above state law in various circumstances, and "irreparably injures" the federal government because it is designed to avoid being challenged in court.

"The Act harms the United States' interest in ensuring that States do not evade their obligations under the Constitution and then try to insulate their actions from judicial review, as well as its interest in protecting the constitutional rights of women in its care and custody," the filing said. "To allow States to circumvent the Federal Constitution in this manner would offend the basic federal nature of the Union. Thus, the unconstitutionality of S.B. 8 alone suffices to establish irreparable harm." 

The Justice Department also argued that the law is driving many to seek abortions outside of Texas, "overburdening out-of-state clinics and creating backlogs for residents of other states seeking care." 

In addition to outlawing abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — before most women know they're pregnant — the measure allows private citizens to bring civil lawsuits against anyone who provides an abortion after six weeks or helps a woman access the procedure, such as a friend who drives a woman to obtain an abortion, or clinic staff. Those found in violation of the law are required to pay at least $10,000 to the person who successfully brought the suit.

The department on Tuesday said that, if a restraining order is granted, not only should the law not be enforced while it's in place, but those who try to enforce S.B. 8 should be informed they no longer have the authority the law granted them while it is being litigated. 

Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the measure into law in May, with Texas joining a dozen other states that have passed laws banning abortions at early stages in pregnancy. Known as "heartbeat bills," they seek to ban the procedures after a fetal heartbeat can first be detected. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement after the Texas abortion ban took effect earlier this month promising the Justice Department would "continue to protect" the safety of Texas women seeking abortions.

President Biden called the law "extreme" in a statement and said it "blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century."

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, abortion clinics on Monday asked the Supreme Court to block the state's 15-week abortion ban, saying that the law would upend 50 years of precedent and open the door for other states to outlaw abortion outright. The court will hear the blockbuster dispute over Mississippi's abortion law in its upcoming term, which begins in October. 

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Justice Dept. Asks Judge to Block Texas From Enforcing Restrictive Abortion Law

The New York Times 14 September, 2021 - 09:47pm

The department sued Texas last week over its recently enacted law, which prohibits nearly all abortions in the state.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked a federal judge late Tuesday to issue an order that would prevent Texas from enacting a law that prohibits nearly all abortions, ratcheting up a fight between the Biden administration and the state’s Republican leaders.

The Justice Department argued in its emergency motion that the state adopted the law, known as Senate Bill 8, “to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights,” reiterating an argument the department made last week when it sued Texas to prohibit enforcement of the contentious new legislation.

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

As such, the department asked Judge Robert L. Pitman of the Western District of Texas to issue a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction that would prevent enforcement of the law.

“This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States,” the Justice Department said in its brief.

Representatives for Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, a Republican, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The Justice Department’s filing is the latest salvo in the Biden administration’s fight to stop Texas from enacting a law that prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, often before many women are aware they are pregnant. There is no heart at this stage of development, only electrical activity in developing cells. The law makes no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

The motion comes two weeks after the Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision, declined to block the Texas legislation. The majority stressed that it was not ruling on the law’s constitutionality and did not intend to limit “procedurally proper challenges” to it.

At the center of the legal debate over the law is the mechanism that essentially deputizes private citizens, rather than the state’s executive branch, to enforce the new restrictions by suing 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.

In its court filing, the Justice Department called this mechanism “an unprecedented scheme that seeks to deny women and providers the ability to challenge S.B. 8 in federal court.”

It said that in other cases where states had enacted laws that abridged reproductive rights to the extent that the Texas law does, courts had stopped those measures from taking effect.

Texas’ “attempt to shield a plainly unconstitutional law from review cannot stand,” the department said in its motion.

The Supreme Court did not rule on whether Senate Bill 8 was constitutional when it refused to block the law. The Justice Department has placed its constitutionality at the heart of the lawsuit, which could force the court to consider new factors and possibly come to a different decision if it hears the case.

Opponents and supporters of the Texas law recognize that it is an enormous shift in the nation’s battle over abortion, which has long rested on whether the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that granted women the constitutional right to the procedure.

The Texas law essentially allows a state to all but ban abortions before a legal test of that watershed case. If the law is not stopped by the courts, other Republican-led state legislatures could use it as a blueprint for their own restrictions.

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