U.S. politics and policy updates
Sign up for myFT Daily Digest and become the first person to learn about U.S. politics and policy news.
Two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to file a lawsuit against Texas to challenge a new law that severely restricts abortion.
The Department of Justice’s anticipated legal challenges may trigger tensions between the Biden administration and the Republican-led Texas government and legislature. Although some criticized the bill as being too harsh, the latter still supported the bill.
The lawsuit was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and may be launched as early as Thursday, but the exact time is unclear. The Justice Department and the White House declined to comment.
On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that his agency is “urgently” exploring “all options” to challenge Texas abortion laws, “to protect the constitutional rights of women and others.” , Including the right to abortion.”.
At the same time, Garland pledged to strengthen the enforcement of federal laws to combat violence or intimidation against women seeking abortions and abortion clinics.
The Department of Justice’s efforts to challenge Texas law are in Supreme CourtThe law, now led by conservative judges, refused to block the law when it went into effect last week.
Supreme Court Decide Legal scholars, activists, and Democratic lawmakers say this raises concerns that it may eventually overturn the legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973, which incorporated the right to abortion into the Constitution.
Even by conservative standards, Texas law is considered extreme. It prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, and rape or incest is no exception before many women know they are pregnant. The law also allows individuals to report to the authorities who help women have abortions, and may receive a $10,000 reward.
After the law went into effect last week, President Joe Biden criticized the decision. “Texas laws will severely impair women’s access to the health care services they need, especially for communities of color and low-income individuals,” he said.
“My government is firmly committed to the constitutional right established in Rowe v. Wade nearly five years ago, and will protect and defend this right.”
Some Republican governors praised Texas law and even vowed to comply with their own additional restrictions on abortion. But many people in the party at the national level worry that this might alienate moderate voters.
Greg Abbott, the Republican Governor of Texas, tried to defend the law this week, but he insisted that he would try to “eliminate all rapists on the streets of Texas” instead of Relaxing restrictions on abortion caused another commotion.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki shot back: “If Governor Abbott has a way to eliminate all rapists or all rapists in the United States, then both parties will support this.”
Some Democrats have been pushing Congress to pass legislation to codify abortion rights as a preemptive way to prevent any Supreme Court from taking action against Roe v. Wade.
Although such a bill may be passed in the House of Representatives, it is difficult to achieve the 60-vote absolute majority threshold required for passage in the Senate.