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The Department of Justice is seeking to block Texas abortion law. Here’s why

The DOJ is seeking an emergency order to block the Texas law as the department has sued the state

Leen Garza protests with others against the six-week abortion ban at the Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Leen Garza participates in a protest with others against the six-week abortion ban at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. The Department of Justice filed an emergency motion late Tuesday night for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the Texas abortion law, which bans abortions after six weeks.
Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP

The Department of Justice filed an emergency motion late Tuesday night for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction against the Texas abortion law, which bans abortions after six weeks.

The department said that the new law — called SB8 — stops “women from exercising their constitutional rights.”

  • “The United States seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of S.B. 8,” the department said. “This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact. It is also necessary to protect federal agencies, employees, and contractors whose lawful actions S.B. 8 purports to prohibit.”

The department said the law violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, CBS News reports.

  • “It is well-settled that the Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from banning abortion before a fetus is viable,” the filing said. “Because S.B. 8 has that effect, it is plainly unconstitutional under binding precedent.”

The department said the Texas abortion law also violates the Supremacy Clause, which ranks federal law above state law, according to CBS News.

  • The Texas abortion law would then hurt federal government power, which is why it is being challenged in the court, the department said.

The motion comes days after the Department of Justice decided to sue the state of Texas due to the state’s abortion law. That decision was made after the Supreme Court refused to block the Texas law from taking effect, according to Deseret News.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said last week the Texas abortion ban “is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent.”

  • The U.S. government has “an obligation to ensure that no state can deprive individuals of their constitutional rights,” said Garland.