Debra Sweet holds up a sign as she joins people who gathered at Brooklyn Borough Hall in downtown Brooklyn, New York City, on September 1, 2021, for a reproductive rights demonstration.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to announce a lawsuit Thursday against Texas over the state’s restrictive abortion law, according to NBC News.
The lawsuit comes after the Supreme Court, piled 6-3 with conservative judges, earlier this month refused to let the controversial abortion law go into effect.
The law, signed in May by Republican government leader Greg Abbott, bans abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which usually occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy. At that time, many women do not yet know that they have become pregnant.
Legislation, S.B. 8, contains an exception for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies due to rape or incest. Abbott defended the law this week, saying his goal is to “eliminate rape so that no woman, no person, becomes a victim of rape.”
Rather than burdening government officials or law enforcement officers with enforcing the ban, the law allows citizens to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers or anyone who “aids or cooperates” with an abortion after the six-week threshold. Those lawsuits could earn at least $10,000 in “statutory damages” per abortion.
Critics say these rules effectively create a bounty system to circumvent abortion rights enshrined in the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 case of Roe v. Wade.
But the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, rejected an emergency request from abortion rights advocates for a temporary injunction to prevent the abortion law from going into effect on Sept. 1.
The majority, including all three judges appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote in a one-paragraph ruling that the petitioners “had not shouldered their burden” on complex procedural questions raised in the case.
But they noted that “this order is not based on any inference about the constitutionality of Texas law.”
Judge Sonia Sotomayor contradictedly wrote that Texas had in effect “replaced its citizens as bounty hunters and offered them cash prizes for civilly suing their neighbors for medical procedures.”
This is the latest news. Come back for updates.