The Joe Biden Administration reacted on Monday to legislation passed by Texas, which practically prevents women in that state from exercising their constitutional right to abortion. The attorney general of the United States – responsible for the Department of Justice – Merrick Garland, has assured that the federal government will protect abortion clinics in case they suffer attacks.
Garland explained that Justice urgently studies all options to challenge Texas law with the ultimate goal of “protecting the constitutional rights of women and other people, including abortion,” according to a statement. To do this, the Democratic Administration resorts to a 1994 regulation (the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act or FACE) that prohibits any form of violence against the exercise of the right to abortion.
This law was signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) and prohibits the use or threat of force to interfere with or intimidate people who come to a clinic where abortions are practiced. The attorney general also reported that contacts with prosecutors and with the FBI offices located in Texas have already been initiated. “We will not tolerate any type of violence, physical impediment or material damage against people who seek or provide contraceptive services,” the statement concludes.
After the controversial rule came into force in Texas last Wednesday, Biden gave the order to mobilize all the resources available to his government to protect the right to abortion in the southern state. The president criticized the legislation of the Republicans, and described the rule as contrary to the United States Constitution. The White House also criticized the spirit of persecution of the text, since it limits the role of the authorities in surveillance but, instead, allows “anyone” to sue women, doctors or anyone who helps in the interruption of a pregnancy (and reward her with $ 10,000, about 8,400 euros). “In an atrocious way, it delegates to citizens the responsibility of denouncing those who believe that they have helped another person to have an abortion, which can include relatives, health workers, secretaries or employees in clinics or strangers without relation to the individual,” it said the notice.
“Texas law will significantly harm women’s access to healthcare, particularly in communities of color and poor,” Biden said last week. For her part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, has pledged to call a vote later this September on legislation that would enshrine the right of women to abortion in federal law. Texas law prohibits abortion from the moment the embryo’s heartbeat is detected, around six weeks gestation, when most women don’t even know they are pregnant. This is the biggest setback to abortion rights in nearly 50 years.
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