Justice Department Says It Will Ask Supreme Court To Block Texas’ Abortion Law

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Laurel Duggan on October 15, 2021

The U.S. Department of Justice will ask the Supreme Court to put a hold on a Texas law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, according to a Justice Department spokesman.

“The Justice Department intends to ask the Supreme Court to vacate the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the preliminary injunction against Texas Senate Bill 8,” Coley said in a Friday statement, according to The Washington Post.

The Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to go into effect Sept. 2 in a 5-4 vote, The New York Times reported.

A federal judge in Austin, Texas, ordered the state to suspend the law Oct. 6, describing the restrictions as a deprivation of a constitutional right, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit then put the judge’s order on hold to allow the law to stay in effect, scheduling a December hearing to review the law, according to the Post.

The Texas Heartbeat Act bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, with exceptions in place for medical emergencies, empowering private citizens to sue abortion clinics and individuals who help women obtain abortions.

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A heartbeat may be detectable at around six weeks after conception, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Critics of the Texas Heartbeat Act, including Planned Parenthood, argue that “most” women do not yet know that they are pregnant at six weeks.

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