Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday said the Justice Department will "protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services" in Texas, and is exploring "all options" to challenge the state's new restrictive law that bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
After the new law — which does not make exceptions for rape or incest — went into effect last week, the Supreme Court refused to block it. President Biden has asked the Justice Department to look into how it can contest the measure, The Washington Post reports, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she will call a vote later this month on legislation that would make a woman's right to an abortion part of federal law.
Garland also declared that the Justice Department "will not tolerate violence" against people seeking abortions or those who provide them and "will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack." The Texas law allows citizens to enforce the ban by suing anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion, and that can include everyone from a person who drives a woman to a clinic to the abortion provider. Those who file lawsuits have the potential to receive $10,000 payoffs.
Biden has called the law "almost un-American," slamming Texas for creating "a vigilante system" where citizens report one another for money.