Texas abortion: Biden administration requests abortion law pause
|bbc.com 15 Sep 2021 at 08:57|
The motion filed on Tuesday formally asks a federal judge to lift the ban while the justice department challenges the law.
The Supreme Court declined to block SB8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, earlier this month.
Supreme Court justices ruled 5-4 against granting a block. The court did not respond to an emergency appeal filed by abortion providers.
President Joe Biden described the Supreme Court s ruling as an "unprecedented assault" on women s rights.
SB8 bans terminations after the detection of what anti-abortion campaigners call a foetal heartbeat - usually at six weeks, when many women do not know they are pregnant.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said the term is misleading and what is being detected at such an early stage of pregnancy is a portion of foetal tissue "that will become the heart as the embryo develops".
The law also gives individuals the right to sue anyone who provides or facilitates access to an abortion past the six-week point. It does not allow the women who get the procedure to be sued.
People who successfully sue under the law will be awarded at least $10,000 (£7,200), in addition to any legal fees incurred.
Critics, like the American Civil Liberties Union, have said this leaves the responsibility for enforcing it on individuals, rather than local or state officials, and could give rise to abortion "bounty hunters".
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has defended the law, vowing his state will "always defend the right to life".