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Justice Department challenges Texas abortion bill

Texas abortion law challenged
Posted at 7:01 AM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 08:03:01-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas  — Members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee met Wednesday over the Supreme Court's "shadow docket" as it pertains to the so-called Texas "heartbeat" abortion law.

A shadow docket is a ruling the court makes outside its typical process of hearing arguments and then handing down long opinions.

The majority of justices on the nation's highest court declined to intervene and block the so-called Texas "heartbeat" law which bans abortions after about six weeks after conception, often before a pregnancy is identified if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Texas Senate Bill 8 is one of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws as providers and abortion rights advocacy groups call it extreme, radical and unjustified.

"I am here today because both our right and access to abortion are at perilous crossroads," said Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women's Law Center. "And with that, our liberty and equality are in crisis as well because with every attack on our fundamental human right to reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, each of those values erode. And a right without access is a right denied.

"Abortion opponents know this and have mounted their offense since Roe (vs. Wade) was decided and have dramatically increased their efforts in the last three years."

In briefs filed Wednesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton defended the law, saying Texas women traveling out of state for abortions are helping interstate commerce.

A federal judge in Texas is set to hold a hearing Friday on a Justice Department request to temporarily halt enforcement of the law while constitutional questions are resolved.