President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Texas over the Lone Star State’s abortion “heartbeat” law, alleging it is “in open defiance of the Constitution.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland unveiled the civil lawsuit against Texas at an afternoon press conference.
“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party, should fear,” Garland stated. “If it prevails, it may become a model for action in other areas, by other states and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”
“Nor need one think long or hard to realize the damage that would be done to our society if states were allowed to implement laws that empower any private individual to infringe on another’s constitutionally protected rights in this way,” the attorney general continued.
“The act is clearly unconstitutional,” he added.
The lawsuit following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision not to block Texas’ law prohibiting abortion after six weeks.
Last Saturday, a judge has temporarily barred some Texas abortion facilities from facing legal action by the state’s largest anti-abortion organization.
The temporary restraining order was issued Friday by District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin in response to a Planned Parenthood request. Although the law remains in effect, the judge’s order shields Planned Parenthood’s clinics, specifically, from whistleblower lawsuits by the nonprofit group Texas Right to Life, its legislative director, and people working in concert with the group.
A hearing on a preliminary injunction request is scheduled for September 13. The temporary restraining order only shields Planned Parenthood clinics from Texas Right to Life lawsuits and doesn’t prevent Texas Right to Life from suing non-Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in the state. It also doesn’t prevent people who aren’t affiliated with Texas Right to Life from suing Planned Parenthood.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.