United States

US Justice Department promises to protect abortion clinics in Texas

11:40, 07 September 2021
US Justice Department promises to protect abortion clinics in Texas Photo: pixabay

The announcement comes several days after Texas adopted a law banning abortions from as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday that it would provide support to clinics, reproductive health centers, and women hit by the new Texan law.

The Texas Heartbeat Act, which was passed on 19 May and signed by Governor Greg Abbott, came into force on September 1. Also known as SB8, it  bans abortions from as early as six weeks into pregnancy and permits to sue med workers who carry out an abortion past this period.

The six-week date is considered to represent the moment when it is possible to detect a heartbeat with the fetus.

The bill has been widely criticized by women, med communities, and human rights organizations. They explain that six weeks is a term when most women do not even find out they are pregnant; thus it is already late to perform abortion.

The law is not applied to cases when abortion is required due to medical urgency.

The Justice Department declared it would provide necessary “support from federal law enforcement”.

It brings up the FACE Act (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) adopted in 1994 which forbids any case of threatening behavior towards those who seek to profit from reproductive health services.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland promised to invoke the act and search for other ways to oppose the state’s legislation.

“The DOJ urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons.”

Garland has added that he contacted the Texan department of the FBI and the state’s attorneys.

In May Pew Research Center issued a survey which stated that 59% of the US adult population believe that abortion should be legal in all cases, while 39% said that abortions should be banned.

In 2021 80% of the US Democrats protected abortion, compared with only 35% of the Republicans. The gap has considerably increased in recent years, for instance, in 2015-2016 the correlation was about 70% - 40%.