The Biden administration continued its interference in Texas’s efforts to save babies from abortion Tuesday, filing an emergency request with a Democrat-appointed judge to block the new state heartbeat law.
The Texas heartbeat law went into effect Sept. 1, prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Pro-life leaders in the state estimate as many as 100 babies are being saved from abortion every day.
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court refused Planned Parenthood’s and other pro-abortion groups’ request to temporarily block enforcement of the law. Local courts have left the ban in place while limiting some lawsuits by a state pro-life group. On Friday, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected another request by abortion businesses to stop the Texas abortion ban.
However, the court battle is not over.
The Biden administration filed its own separate lawsuit against the pro-life law and late Tuesday, asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking its enforcement, CBS News reports.
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“The United States seeks a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of S.B. 8 [the Texas heartbeat law],” the U.S. Department of Justice 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.”
Reuters reports a judge appointed by pro-abortion President Barack Obama has been assigned to the case.
The online court docket initially said the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in the Western District of Texas. But the docket was changed to U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman. Pitman, appointed by former President Barack Obama, was in August due to consider blocking the Texas law from taking effect but an appeals court halted the proceeding.
In its filing Tuesday, the Biden administration argued that the heartbeat law violates the Fourteenth Amendment and the precedents set by Roe v. Wade. It also claimed the law “irreparably injures” the federal government by violating the Supremacy Clause, according to the report.
“It is well-settled that the Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from banning abortion before a fetus is viable,” it told the court. “Because S.B. 8 has that effect, it is plainly unconstitutional under binding precedent.”
In response, a spokesperson for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed the law, emphasized the need to protect unborn babies’ right to life.
“The most precious freedom is life itself,” spokesperson Renae Eze told the Associated Press. “Texas passed a law that ensures that the life of every child with a heartbeat will be spared from the ravages of abortion.”
In 2020, about 54,000 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, and about 85 percent happened after six weeks of pregnancy, according to state health statistics.
The law already is saving lives. While abortion activists say some women are traveling to other states for abortions, they admit that others are choosing to have their babies instead.
About a dozen states have passed heartbeat laws to protect unborn babies from abortion, but Texas is the first to be allowed to enforce its law. Unique from other states, the Texas law includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law and those who help them.
Whether the Texas law will remain in effect or ultimately be upheld as constitutional in court remains uncertain, but pro-life leaders are hopeful now that the Supreme Court has a conservative majority.
In 1973, the court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are reaching out to pregnant women across Texas with compassion and understanding, offering resources and emotional support to help them and their babies. Earlier this year, state lawmakers increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life for their babies.
Polls show Americans support heartbeat laws. An April poll by the University of Texas-Austin found that 49 percent of Texans support making abortions illegal after six weeks of pregnancy, while 41 percent oppose it. In 2019, a national Hill-HarrisX survey also found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive.