The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday announced that it is filing a lawsuit against Texas over the state government’s new bill banning abortion after six months of pregnancy.

During a press conference Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that the new abortion law that Texas introduced is “clearly unconstitutional” and pledged to block the effort that the Republican officials are making in the state.

“It does not rely on the state’s executive branch to enforce the law, as is the norm in Texas and everywhere else,” Garland said Thursday. “Rather, the statute deputizes all private citizens, without any showing of personal connection or injury, to serve as bounty hunters, authorized to recover at least $10,000 per claim from individuals who facilitate a women’s exercise of her constitutional rights.” 

“The obvious and expressly acknowledged intention of this statutory scheme is to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible,” Garland added.

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The controversial law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) back in May, awards a $10,000 reward to citizens who successfully bring lawsuits against anyone who helped an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, which is around a time when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Abbott recently claimed that six weeks is enough time for a woman to decide whether to continue her pregnancy or not.

However, most women do not realize that they’re pregnant that early, which means the law could act as a complete ban on abortion.

The law does not include exceptions for pregnancy due to rape, sexual abuse or incest.

“Obviously, it provides at least six weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion, and so, for one, it doesn’t provide that,” Abbott said Tuesday. “That said … rape is a crime, and Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets.”

Following the Supreme Court’s approval of Texas “fetal heartbeat” law recently, the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., other Republican-led state governments are likely to follow suit.

This includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida), who expressed interest in the idea last week. 

“I’m pro-life. I welcome pro-life legislation. What they did in Texas was interesting, but I haven’t really been able to look at enough about it,” DeSantis said at a press conference last week. “They’ve basically done this through private right of action. So, it’s a little bit different than how a lot of these debates have gone. So we’ll have to look, I’m gonna look more significantly at it.”

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