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Justice Department calls for immediate order blocking Texas abortion law enforcement

The US Department of Justice on Tuesday evening asked for an immediate court order to prevent Texas from enforcing its new restrictive law that effectively bans most abortions.

The petition, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleges the law is an “unprecedented scheme” that seeks to deny women and claimants the opportunity to challenge the law in federal court and is unconstitutional.

The Justice Department has requested a restraining order or preliminary injunction to “protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas,” the interests of the United States in ensuring that states adhere to the Constitution, and federal agencies and employees whose legal actions would be prohibited by law. .

A lawsuit filed last week challenges the state’s ban on all abortions after fetal heart activity is detected, which happens before most women know they are pregnant. about six weeks. There are no exceptions for cases of rape, sexual abuse or incest. It also allows members of the public to sue doctors who perform abortions that are prohibited by law, women who attempt to have an abortion, or anyone who helps them.

The United States Supreme Court refused to block the law, known as SB 8 and went into effect on September 1.

Last week, President Joe Biden pledged a “whole-of-government” response to try to protect access to abortion in Texas. He ordered assessments of “the legal tools we have to isolate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre program of outsourcing the application to private parties.”

On Monday, a state district judge issued an order temporarily preventing Texas Right to Life from suing Planned Parenthood of Texas and its abortion providers under SB 8.

Judge Karin Crump of the 250th District Court has ruled that the anti-abortion group cannot sue Planned Parenthood until a final judgment is rendered in the DOJ lawsuit.

Crump found that Planned Parenthood could suffer irreparable harm without the injunction and that the Justice Department is likely to prevail in its lawsuit, which would block the law permanently.

She set the trial date for April 4, 2022.