Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

The Biden administration submitted an emergency appeal, asking the justices to vacate a lower court's ruling allowing the law to remain in effect.

Updated: October 18, 2021 - 6:10pm

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The Justice Department on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court to block the newly enacted Texas abortion ban, while challenges to the law continue to be litigated. 

According to the Associated Press, the Biden administration submitted an emergency appeal, asking justices to vacate a lower court's previous ruling allowing the law to remain in effect. 

"Allowing S.B. 8 to remain in force would irreparably harm the thousands of Texas women who are being denied their constitutional rights," the government argued in its petition. 

The Texas law at the center of this debate has been in effect since early September. It bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, usually around six weeks into the pregnancy.

The government's request comes just days after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law could remain on the books, despite challenges to its legality. 

In its legal brief, the Justice Department argued that the law is "plainly unconstitutional" by violating current Supreme Court precedent. 

The last time the case was before the high court, justices did not rule on the constitutionality of the law, but allowed it to take effect, saying there were "complex and novel" procedural questions that needed to be addressed first. 

According to Reuters, the Supreme Court asked Texas to respond by Thursday. 

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