Battle for abortion rights hits streets as Biden urges judge to halt Texas law - GulfToday

Battle for abortion rights hits streets as Biden urges judge to halt Texas law


Pro-choice demonstrators hold up signs outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

The abortion rights battle takes to the streets across America on Saturday, with hundreds of demonstrations planned as part of a new "Women's March" aimed at countering an unprecedented conservative offensive to restrict the termination of pregnancies.

A federal judge is deciding whether to block the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, which has banned most abortions in Texas since early on September and sent women racing hundreds of miles to get care outside the state.


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The fight has become even more intense since Texas adopted a law on September 1 banning almost all abortions, unleashing a veritable legal guerrilla warfare and a counterattack in Congress, but with few public demonstrations until now.

An American flag waves outside the US Department of Justice Building in Washington. Reuters

The Biden administration on Friday urged a federal judge to block the nation's most restrictive abortion law, which has banned most abortions in Texas since early September and sent women racing to get care beyond the borders of the second-most populous state.

That worry underscores the durability of Senate Bill 8, which has already withstood a wave of challenges. Pitman, based in Austin and who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, presided over a nearly three-hour hearing Friday but did not say when he will rule.

The law bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks, before some women know they are pregnant. To enforce the law, Texas deputized private citizens to file lawsuits against violators, and has entitled them to at least $10,000 in damages if successful.

A surgical tech discusses ultrasound results with a patient in an abortion clinic in Texas. Reuters

"A state may not ban abortions at six weeks. Texas knew this, but it wanted a six-week ban anyway, so the state resorted to an unprecedented scheme of vigilante justice that was designed to scare abortion providers and others who might help women exercise their constitutional rights,” Justice Department attorney Brian Netter told the court.

So far, abortion providers trying to block the Texas law have been rejected at every turn. That makes the lawsuit filed by the Justice Department their best chance yet to deliver the first legal blow to the GOP-engineered restrictions, which were signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May and took effect Sept. 1.

Rallies are planned in these two conservative states' capitals, Austin and Jackson, as well as in more than 600 cities in all 50 states. According to the organizers, nearly a quarter million people are expected to turn out across the United States.

"Together, we are joining hands to advocate for a country where abortion isn't just legal -- it's accessible, affordable and destigmatized," said the organizers of the Rally for Abortion Justice in a statement.



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