Federal Judge Hears Arguments Over Texas Abortion Law

WASHINGTON – A federal judge heard Friday’s debate from Texas and the federal government over whether the Texas law, which prohibits nearly all miscarriages in the state, should be suspended until a court decides whether or not it is legal.

The problem is Texas’s strict abortion law, passed in September, which uses a unique legal approach to apply to civilians on behalf of the state, not the state. The Texas Heart Rate Act, also known as Senate Bill 8, had an atrophic effect because most of the state’s 20 or so abortion clinics no longer offer abortion services. .. 6 weeks of pregnancy.

The Justice Department sued Texas last month over the law. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland described the implementation mechanism as “unprecedented” as an attempt to prevent women from exercising their constitutionally protected right to abortion. He said Americans should fear that Texas laws could serve as a model limiting other constitutionally protected rights, regardless of their position on abortion.

At Friday’s hearing, Texas attorney William T. Thompson had no reason for the federal government to take the case before Judge Robert L. Pittman, a judge in Austin Federal District Court. He insisted. The law does not harm him.

“If the Texas Heart Rate Act did hold the federal government accountable, there would at least be some potential dangers to consider,” Thompson said. “But the heartbeat method doesn’t do that.”

Senate Bill 8 is passed by the Texas Parliament and signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, but must be implemented by civilians in civil proceedings. These private organizations are entitled to $10,000 and will reimburse their legal fees if they succeed in prosecuting those who support legally restricted abortion.

As a result, Texas laws, unlike laws restricting access to abortion in other states, have been suspended during the judicial process. Last month, the Supreme Court rejected an abortion clinic motion to suspend the Texas law, mainly on procedural grounds, but noted that the law could still be challenged on constitutional grounds. Yes.

The state argued that civil proceedings initiated by civilians under the new Texas State Courts Act were “appropriate procedures for determining the constitutionality of contested statutes.” Several such processes have been initiated to date.

Justice Department attorney Brian Noether said Friday that, contrary to Texas claims, Senate Bill 8 violates the constitutional principle that federal law takes precedence over state law, causing direct harm to the federal government. He insisted. 2.

“The trial is necessary because SB8 is an unprecedented attack on the federal government and the supremacy of the federal constitution,” Netter told the court, “to surpass the federal government.” It’s called a “very special law”. ”

He said the federal government should oppose the law because it also effectively deprives groups of their citizens’ constitutional rights. Abortion received federal protection in 1973 with the groundbreaking Supreme Court ruling, the Rowe v Wade case.

Nether argues that the legal structure fits the motivations of the “vigilant bounty hunter”.

Mr. Thompson questioned the feature. “This is not a vigilance plan as proposed by the Opposition Council,” he added, adding that the law “uses Texas lawful standards of practice”.

Understand the Texas Abortion Act
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Citizens, not states, enforce the law. The law effectively represents the general public, including non-Texas residents, and allows them to sue clinics and anyone who violates the law. If they succeed, it will earn them at least $10,000 for each mistake.

Judge Pittman asked Mr. Thompson on law enforcement mechanisms.

“We are always instructed to look for someone responsible for the execution, so can you help me identify the person you think is appropriate?” he asked.

Mr Thompson replied that the Texas Parliament “has expressly prohibited any level of Texas or local authority from enforcing this”. So I don’t think there is such a person, so I don’t think anyone can be identified in court. ”

Netter claims that civilians who can sue are actually state actors. “It’s not like something happened to someone and they went to court,” he said. “What seems wrong here is the Texas belief that abortion after six weeks is wrong.”

Mr. Thompson disagrees with the argument.

“We don’t believe that private plaintiffs are in the state’s position,” he said.

Noether suggested that Texas was dishonestly defending the law.

“The state advice is that all of this becomes normal, but I think everyone knows that it’s not,” he said.