A federal judge has now rejected the Biden Administration’s attempt to shelve the Texas anti-abortion “heartbeat” law that went into effect on September 1st.
This Texas law has the effect of making it illegal to have abortion in the Lonestar state after about the sixth week of pregnancy, which is when a heartbeat can be detected. This spectactular law was allowed by the U.S. Supreme court to take effect, and it allows citizens to bring complaints against doctors that might perform abortions after this time period.
It was on Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice made an emergency court filing where they demanded that the law should be blocked.
“The State of Texas adopted S.B. 81 to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights,” the filing said, adding that “Texas has banned abortions months before viability — at a time before many women even know they are pregnant.”
“When other States have enacted laws abridging reproductive rights to the extent that S.B. 8 does, courts have enjoined enforcement of the laws before they could take effect. In an effort to avoid that result, Texas devised an unprecedented scheme that seeks to deny women and providers the ability to challenge S.B. 8 in federal court,” the filing said.
When they rejected the government’s demand in their tersely-worded order, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman refused to rule in favor of the Biden Administration.
“Consistent with the Court’s previous Order, (Dkt. 12), that set a hearing on the United States’ Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction, (Dkt. 8), this case presents complex, important questions of law that merit a full opportunity for the parties to present their positions to the Court. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the United States’ Opposed Motion for Expedited Briefing Schedule, (Dkt. 13), is DENIED,” the judge wrote.
Pitman was nominated to the bench by then-President Barack Obama seven years ago, and he had earlier agreed that before he would rule on this federal motion to block the Texas law, he was going to hear arguments from both sides. He originally set a deadline of October 1 for the paperwork to be filed, as noted by Newsweek.
However, the Department of Justice did not want to wait until October, so they filed the request for action immediately, and in turn Pitman immediately rejected it.
Now that the law has taken effect, Texas abortion clinics are canceled appointments for abortions left and right, according to the Texas Tribune.
“For all the bluster about Roe v. Wade being a matter of women’s rights, note how quickly clinics abandoned the clients they claim to champion once their profits were actually at stake,” wrote Roger Severino, senior fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, in a Newsweek Op-Ed.
“So naturally, Planned Parenthood and other abortionists have asked their friends in the Biden administration to try again to block the law on their behalf so the cash can start flowing again,” he wrote.
Severino also argued that the Department of Justice was way off base legally when it attempted to argue that this law was going to make Texas citizens into some type of legalized vigilante force.
“Giving citizens the power to sue and recover damages from lawbreakers doesn’t entitle them to carry some sort of Texas deputy badge. It doesn’t turn them into Dog the Bounty Hunter either,” he wrote. “Like other whistleblower laws, the Heartbeat Act merely incentivizes them to uncover and prove serious wrongdoing. And there are few wrongs more terrible than intentionally stopping an innocent child’s heart.
“Instead of waiting to see if a Texas citizen will bring an enforcement action with enough proof of a violation, DOJ seeks to enjoin every person in the state from filing a suit against any abortion clinic at the front end, no matter how egregious or blatant the violation.
“In the name of defending an invented constitutional right to abortion, Attorney General Merrick Garland wants to suspend an actual right found in the Constitution — the due process of law.”
Interestingly enough, Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller said that they too might consider a smilar law next year, as noted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.