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Why the U.S. government is suing Texas

The Department of Justice said it will sue Texas over the abortion law

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Air cleaners at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas.

Air cleaners are seen before a news conference at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.

Eric Gay, Associated Press

The Department of Justice has decided to sue the state of Texas because of the state’s new abortion law.

The decision to sue Texas comes after the Supreme Court refused to block the law from taking effect, according to Deseret News. The court’s justices were split 5-4 over whether to allow the ban on abortion to stand.

  • Soon after, the law went into effect. But now, the Department of Justice will be suing Texas as a way to end the law. 

Per The Washington Post, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Texas abortion ban “is clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent.”

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

The Texas law — titled SB8 — prohibits abortions after medical professionals can detect a heartbeat, usually around the six-week mark, according to The Associated Press.

  • The six-week mark can be before some women know they’re pregnant.

Per the AP, some courts have blocked states from having similar restrictions over the year. However, Texas’ law gives citizens the power to enforce it through civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.