September 7, 2021/Media, Press

Texas Democrats Thank Department of Justice For Commitment to Defending Abortion Rights

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Democrats welcomed the news Monday that the U.S. Department of Justice will be taking steps to defend abortion rights in the face of Gov. Greg Abbott’s cruel and unconstitutional abortion ban. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to protect patients, clinics, and providers from violence and harassment with “support from federal law enforcement” — protections enshrined in a 1994 law known as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act). Garland also stated the Justice Department is “urgently explor[ing] all options to challenge Texas SB8.”

This commitment is welcome news to Texans grappling with S.B. 8, a dystopian six-week abortion ban imposed by Texas Republicans, which took effect on September 1. The unconstitutional ban is the most harmful six-week ban in the country, and places a bounty on abortion rights by offering a financial reward to private citizens, including those from out of state, who successfully take legal action against anyone who violates the ban. Because of the inaction of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, it is the first ban of its kind to take effect without first being blocked by the courts. Abortion advocates and Texas Democrats are urgently calling on Congress to pass abortion protections at the federal level, given that the Supreme Court can no longer be trusted to uphold 50 years of precedent, adhere to Roe v. Wade, and protect Americans’ right to abortion care.

Texas Democratic Party Co-Executive Director Hannah Roe Beck issued the following statement:

“I’m grateful to our U.S. Department of Justice and to our President and Vice-President for standing with Texans in fighting for abortion rights. S.B. 8 is uniquely harmful, exceptionally cruel, and flagrantly unconstitutional. This dystopian abortion ban is already threatening the health and safety of millions of Texans, and abortion advocates and Texas Democrats are fighting back as hard as we can — and we’re heartened to have the support of our federal government in doing so.

“We’ve seen that the Trump appointees on the Supreme Court cannot be trusted to uphold Roe v. Wade, and that’s why we’re calling on Congress to urgently pass federal abortion rights protections. This is about protecting Americans from the whims of a handful of conservative lawmakers who, in 2021, are still intent on meddling in our most intimate, important decisions about our bodies and our lives. This cruel and shameful legislation is simply an attempt at intimidation by Greg Abbott and Texas Republicans — who govern only through terror. Abortion is healthcare and a human right, and this ban cannot change that. We will not back down in the face of this attack, and when Texans go to the polls next November, we won’t forget.”