The United States Department of Justice has requested an emergency injunction to block Texas’ restrictive abortion law, the first of what will likely be a lengthy legal battle that will reach the Supreme Court.
The 47-page request, filed in federal court in Austin Tuesday night, seeks a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction stopping enforcement of the law, known as Texas Senate Bill 8.
This bill bans almost all abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, which is before many women find out they are pregnant.
The law authorizes citizens to sue people who conduct or assist in the proceeding, allowing them to charge at least $ 10,000 plus legal fees if they are successful in court.
“The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot isolate itself from judicial review for its constitutional violations and to protect the important federal interests that SB 8 harms.” The US government said in Tuesday’s presentation.
This move comes as the Justice Department is encountering increasing pressure from President Joe Biden, Congressional Democrats, and advocates for women’s reproductive rights.
The Justice Department said the law is already having an adverse effect on Texas women, as well as abortion providers in neighboring states. Since SB 8 went into effect, clinics in Tulsa and Oklahoma City have seen a staggering 646 percent overall increase in Texan patients.
The Supreme Court earlier this month refused to block the measure, as requested by abortion providers in Texas, while it is challenged in lower courts.
“The law is clearly unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference.