Politics

Texas clinics that perform abortions will be protected, Biden promises

The Biden administration “will provide support for federal law enforcement if a clinic is attacked,” the justice minister warned of Texas’ draconian law.

The US Justice Department has promised this Monday, September 6 protection with the resources of the federal government, clinics practicing abortions in Texas , southern state which has adopted a very restrictive legislation on the voluntary termination of pregnancy .

The Biden administration “will provide support for federal law enforcement if an abortion clinic or sexual and reproductive health center is attacked,” Minister Merrick Garland said in a statement.

Contacts have already been made with prosecutors and with the offices of the FBI in Texas, it is specified. “We will not tolerate any violence, physical hindrance or material harm against people seeking or providing contraceptive services,” the statement said.

Plans to Counter Texas Law

The ministry invokes a law of 1994 (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act or “FACE”), which prohibits any form of violence against the exercise of the right to abortion.

The Biden administration is also looking for ways to legally counter Texan law, which the US Supreme Court has refused to suspend, dealing a major blow to abortion rights.

Texas now bans abortion once the embryo’s heartbeat is detected, around six weeks pregnant, when most women don’t even know they’re pregnant. Except in a medical emergency.

President Biden on Thursday excoriated the Supreme Court’s refusal to block a Texas law that prohibits abortion after six weeks, saying that it “unleashes unconstitutional chaos” against women and vowing that his administration would investigate how the federal government could protect existing constitutional abortion rights.

In a statement, the president said that he had directed a gender-focused policy council in the White House, the Office of the White House Counsel and the Health and Human Services and the Justice Departments to “launch of a whole-of-government effort” to respond to the court’s decision.

“Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women,” Mr. Biden said. “This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest.”

The Texas law, known as S.B. 8, makes it difficult for officials to enforce Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that establishes the right to abortion until the point of fetal viability, the point at which fetuses can sustain life outside the womb, or about 22 to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

He called the Supreme Court’s decision not to block the law an “unprecedented assault” on women’s rights.

Any individual now has the right to sue anyone involved with providing or facilitating an abortion past six weeks of pregnancy in Texas.

This is before many women know they have conceived.

Rights groups had asked the Supreme Court to block the law, but it refused following a 5-4 vote.

The judges said their decision was not based on any conclusion about whether the Texas law was constitutional or not, and that the door remained open for legal challenges.

One of the liberal Supreme Court judges, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, said those justices who had allowed the law to stand had “opted to bury their heads in the sand” over a “flagrantly unconstitutional law”.

President Biden accused the court of unleashing “unconstitutional chaos”. “The highest court of our land will allow millions in Texas in need of critical reproductive care to suffer while courts sift through procedural complexities,” he said.

Mr Biden said he had asked the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to see what steps the national government could take to “insulate women and providers”, but did not provide further details.

He said the law violated the landmark Roe v Wade case in 1973, in which the Supreme Court legalised abortion across the US. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that the president had long wanted to see the “codification” of Roe v Wade – which would mean Congress voting to make the precedent federal law.

Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott has said his state will “always defend the right to life”.

The ruling was welcomed by Dan Patrick, Texas’s Republican lieutenant governor, who tweeted: “A tremendous #prolife victory! This lifesaving legislation reflects Texas’ pro-life beliefs and our continued commitment to protecting the most vulnerable.”

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