Samuel Case, FISM News
The Department of Justice is pressuring the Supreme Court to block the Texas Heartbeat Bill (S.B. 8) until the case is fully mitigated in court, with the Biden administration fearing other states will institute similar abortion bans if the Texas law is allowed to stand for the time being.
“For half a century, this Court has held that ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,'” the DOJ wrote in its court filings, adding, “S.B. 8 defies those precedents by banning abortion long before viability – indeed, before many women even realize they are pregnant.”
This is the DOJ’s second attempt to block the law from taking effect. On Sept. 9 Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a lawsuit to temporarily suspend the pro-life law.
The law has gone back and forth through the lower courts. Earlier this month the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the law after it was temporarily blocked by a U.S. district judge, who had approved the DOJ’s request to suspend the bill.
In September the Supreme Court denied an emergency request to block the law, although it did not rule on its constitutionality. The Texas law is unique in that it enables private citizens, not the state, to sue abortion providers who kill a baby in the womb after its heartbeat is detectable.
The high court is set to hear the pivotal abortion case of “Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization” on December 1, as FISM News previously reported. This case has the potential to reinstate Mississippi’s “Gestational Age Act,” which prohibits abortions after 15-weeks with the exception of rape or incest. The law had subsequently been denied by two different federal courts.
Meanwhile, on Monday the Supreme Court overturned two lower court rulings against qualified immunity, which can protect police officers from civil lawsuits, unless the officer violated “clearly established law” or constitutional rights have been violated. The rulings were unsigned, with no public dissent among the justices. Both cases were decided without oral arguments.