Law & the Courts

Biden: DOJ Exploring Ways to ‘Limit’ Enforcement of Texas Heartbeat Bill

President Biden departs after delivering remarks on the August Jobs Report at the White House in Washington, September 3, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Biden told reporters on Friday that he consulted with the Justice Department regarding potential methods to blunt the enforcement of Texas’s fetal heartbeat law.

“The most pernicious thing about the Texas law is it creates a sort of vigilante system where people get rewards to go out to—anyway,” Biden said, referring to the law’s enforcement mechanism allowing private citizens to sue people who help facilitate an abortion.

“I was told there are possibilities within the existing law to have the Justice Department look and see whether there are things that can be done that can limit the independent action of individuals in enforcing a state law,” Biden said. “I don’t know enough to give you an answer yet, I have asked that to be checked.”

The Texas law went into effect on Wednesday, and remains in effect because the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by abortion providers in a 5-4 decision. The majority did not address the law’s merits but instead found that the plaintiffs could not be granted relief because no one has yet been fined for aiding an abortion and challenged the fine in court. The plaintiffs lacked the standing to sue the state since it is private individuals, rather than state officials, who are tasked with enforcing the law.

“This order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law, and in no way limits other procedurally proper challenges to the Texas law, including in Texas state courts,” the majority opinion states.

Biden called the decision an “unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade” in a statement to the press.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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