Democrats press Biden to pass Texas abortion law

Democrats and reproductive rights activists on Tuesday urged the Biden administration to take more aggressive action to stop a Texas law...

Democrats and reproductive rights activists on Tuesday urged the Biden administration to take more aggressive action to stop a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, even though administration officials and legal experts have said. recognized that it would be difficult to restrict the law in the coming months. .

House Democrats, following similar calls over the weekend from a prominent Liberal lawyer, pushed Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to use Department of Justice powers to prosecute Texas residents now empowered by law to prosecute women seeking abortions.

“We urge you to initiate legal proceedings up to and including criminal proceedings against potential vigilantes attempting to use the private right of action established by this clearly unconstitutional law,” said the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and 22 other House Democrats wrote in a letter to Garland.

The Justice Department fired reporters seeking a response to the letter to a statement by Mr Garland a day earlier, in which he said law enforcement officials were explore options ‘urgently’ to challenge Texas law “to protect the constitutional rights of women and others, including access to abortion.”

The House Democrats ‘demands were the Liberals’ latest push after the Supreme Court ruled last week to allow Texas law to go into effect. Instead of using the state’s law enforcement powers, the law gives private citizens the right to sue anyone who assists a woman in obtaining an abortion. By law, these plaintiffs can earn $ 10,000 and recover their legal fees if they win.

The law has emerged as the most vivid example of how former President Donald J. Trump tipped the scales of the Supreme Court to the right by appointing three conservative justices.

Now President Biden’s base is pushing him to do more. But due to the new way Texas law was written, the conservative majority in the Supreme Court, and the sluggishness of the court system, officials in the Biden administration have few options to protect rights to law. short-term abortion in Texas.

“The Department of Justice has few legal avenues that are likely to be successful, and federal courts are unlikely to be receptive to their challenges,” said Elizabeth W. Sepper, professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin.

Mr Biden voiced his outrage last week as he called the law “almost un-American” and ordered the Justice and Health and Human Services departments to find ways to ensure that women can do so. abort safely in Texas, a task that administration officials say will take. a little time and creativity.

Mr Garland said in his statement Monday that the federal government will strengthen its enforcement of a 1994 law designed to protect women from harassment and intimidation when seeking an abortion.

“The department will provide support to federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is attacked,” Garland said. “We have reached out to U.S. prosecutors’ offices and FBI field offices in Texas and across the country to discuss our law enforcement authorities.”

In the face of calls from Democrats for the administration to do more, the White House and the Justice Department declined to say on Tuesday what else they might have in store.

“The White House council office, the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services continue to look for ways to expand women’s access to health care,” told reporters the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Rhode Island Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse also called on Democrats to investigate whether the Texas law was part of a nationwide campaign led by conservative groups and funded by anonymous donors that sought to advance certain laws, like voter suppression laws.

“We’ve done a terrible job of exposing this,” Mr. Whitehouse said. “We have been negligent, not just weak, in letting this happen and not doing the job to tell the American public about it.”

The idea of ​​using the prosecution powers of the Department of Justice to tackle Texas law gained ground over the weekend thanks to an opinion piece in the Washington Post by constitutional expert Laurence H. Tribe. The best way Democrats can protect abortion rights is for Congress to pass legislation, Tribe argued. But he said Democrats probably didn’t have enough votes in Congress and warned the Supreme Court could overturn such a law anyway.

Instead, Mr Tribe said, Mr Garland has the power to take legal action against those who seek to deprive someone of their constitutional rights.

Mr Tribe said the law Mr Garland was to use was passed in the years following the Civil War to prevent members of the Ku Klux Klan from lynching black people and trying to stop them from voting.

“The attorney general should announce, as quickly as possible, that he will use federal law wherever possible to deter and prevent bounty hunters from using Texas law,” Tribe wrote. “If Texas wants to empower private vigilantes to intimidate abortion providers into serving women, why not make bounty hunters think twice about this bullying?”

But Brian Fallon, executive director of the progressive group Demand Justice, which advocates increasing the number of Supreme Court seats, called on Democrats to focus on that larger target, saying it could affect a myriad of political issues.

“It’s a problem that is much bigger and more difficult to solve, and a lot of people continue to avoid it all together,” Mr. Fallon said. “The current reality is that there will be other innovations beyond Texas law that we can expect in the months and years to come.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Democrats press Biden to pass Texas abortion law
Democrats press Biden to pass Texas abortion law
Newsrust - US Top News
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