WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is asking a federal court in Texas to issue a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction against a new state law that bans most abortions in Texas.
A Tuesday night emergency motion stated that a court could issue such an order to prevent harm to any parties before it can fully resolve the case.
According to the Associated Press, the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit last week asking for the court to declare invalid the law.
SB8 is a law that prohibits abortions after medical professionals detect cardiac activity. This usually takes around six weeks before women realize they are pregnant. There are no exceptions to the law for pregnancies due to rape and incest.
In addition, the law incentivizes private citizens to file suit against anyone who may have assisted in an illegal abortion — be it a doctor, a staff member at a clinic that provides abortions or a rideshare worker who drove a woman to the clinic. The defendant can receive $10,000 if they win a successful lawsuit.
September 1 was the effective date of the law. Later that day, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision — with Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s three liberal judges in dissent — that the law could take effect while appeal courts consider its legality.
President Joe Biden denounced the Supreme Court’s decision and promised a “whole-of-government response” to fight the law.