Joe Biden’s administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block Texas from enforcing its new Heartbeat law on Oct. 18. This is despite a September court decision to uphold the legislation.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an emergency request, arguing the latest case is different to the previous one. DOJ sought to protect a woman’s constitutional right to terminate pregnancy, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The Texas Heartbeat Act, prevents abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected–usually after six weeks of pregnancy. The only exception to this rule is medical emergency.
The law known as Texas Senate Bill 8 (S.B. 8) has been in effect for about a month. It has prevented nearly 5,000 abortion procedures according to Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List.
After the Supreme Court refused to stay S.B. 8 in the previous case, abortion specialist networks Planned Parenthood and Whole Woman’s Health temporarily suspended many procedures across the Lone Star State.
The law “exclusively” empowers private citizens to launch civil lawsuits against non-compliant abortion providers, without having to resort to state court proceedings.
DOJ claims Texan abortion facilities are adversely affected by uncertainty caused by the Heartbeat law.
“The people of Texas speaking through their state legislators acted to protect unborn children with beating hearts, who are as human as you and me,” Dannenfelser said according to TDPel Media.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland believes the “fight has only just begun.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president “supports the codification of Roe v. Wade” and “has led a whole-of-government response to S.B. 8.”