WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is asking a federal court in Texas to issue a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction against a new state law that bans most abortions in Texas.
The emergency motion filed Tuesday night says a court can issue such an order as a means of preventing harm to parties involved before the court can fully decide the claims in the case.
According to the Associated Press, the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman.
Last week the Justice Department filed a lawsuit asking the court to declare the law invalid.
The law, known as SB8, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity. That's usually around six weeks, before some women know they're pregnant. The law does not make exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
In addition, the law incentivizes private citizens to file suit against anyone who may have assisted in an illegal abortion — be it a doctor, a staff member at a clinic that provides abortions or a rideshare worker who drove a woman to the clinic. Those who successfully sue can be awarded $10,000 at the expense of the defendant.
The law went into effect on Sept. 1. Later that day, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision — with Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's three liberal judges in dissent — that the law could take effect while appeal courts consider its legality.
President Joe Biden denounced the Supreme Court's decision and promised a "whole-of-government response" to fight the law.