Backlash on Bill


Madisen Tucker, Editor In Chief

On Thursday, Sept. 9 the United States Department of Justice sued Texas over the recently passed Senate Bill 8, otherwise known as the Heartbeat Bill. The bill bans abortions after doctors detect fetal cardiac activity, which typically occurs around six weeks.


The Justice Department stepped in to sue the state on the pretense that SB 8 was unconstitutional.


“The act is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a press conference in Washington.


The Department of Justice argues that the Heartbeat Bill breaches the constitutional rights of women and violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. This Supremacy Clause states that federal law supersedes all state laws.


“It is settled constitutional law that ‘a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,’” the lawsuit states. “Texas has done just that.”


A clause in the recent Texas statute allows for anyone, regardless of connection, to sue a woman getting an abortion. If the case were to come to fruition the prosecutor could be entitled to a minimum of $10,000.


“The statute deputizes all private citizens, without any showing of personal connection or injury, to serve as bounty hunters authorized to recover at least $10,000 per claim from individuals who facilitate a woman’s exercise of her constitutional rights,” Garland said.


The Justice Department is worried that other states may follow in the steps of Texas pertaining to other constitutional rights people have.


“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans — whatever their politics or party — should fear,” Garland said. “If it prevails, it may become a model for action in other areas, by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”


The Department of Justice is looking for an injunction to block the bill because groups such as Texas Right to Life stated they were in the process of working with other states to pass similar bans.


“The most precious freedom is life itself,” Renae Eze, a spokesperson for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, said. “Texas passed a law that ensures that the life of every child with a heartbeat will be spared from the ravages of abortion.”


Abortion clinics and providers have stated that they will comply with the new bill, however across Texas, clinics have temporarily stopped offering abortion services. Meanwhile, out-of-state clinics have seen a surge in patients from Texas.


“We hope this important next step by the Biden administration will help restore Texans’ access to the health care they need,” Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said.


As of right now there is no update on the status of the lawsuit. The Department of Justice under the Biden administration is continually working to block SB 8.