The Department of Justice asked a federal judge late Tuesday to temporarily block Texas’s new heartbeat abortion law.
The department claimed in its filing that the state had passed the law, which allows private citizens to sue providers that perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, “to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights.”
“This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States,” the department said in its brief.
The emergency motion seeking a preliminary injunction against the law comes less than a week after the Biden administration filed a lawsuit against Texas over the controversial legislation, which allows any individual to sue anyone who knowingly performs or aids an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Plaintiffs can earn up to $10,000 in damages through litigation.
“It is settled constitutional law that ‘a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,’ but Texas has done just that,” asserted the lawsuit.
Attorney General Merrick Garland previously said the department was weighing options to take action after the Supreme Court declined to enjoin the law in a 5–4 decision earlier this month.