The Justice Department said Monday that it will not tolerate violence against anyone to obtain an abortion in Texas as federal officials continued to explore options to challenge the new state law that bans most abortions.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department would ‘protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services’ under a federal law known as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
Garland said in a statement that federal prosecutors are still urgently exploring options to challenge the Texas law.
He said the Justice Department would enforce the federal law ‘in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion.’
Democrats are also scrambling to find ways to counter the law, including a new bill in Congress, while Republicans have accused Biden of federal overreach by trying to undermine the Supreme Court’s decision last week not to overturn the new law.
Liberals are also threatening to boycott Texas over their abortion law, with Portland considering banning all imports from and travel to the state.
The new Texas law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks – before some women know they´re pregnant.
The federal law, commonly known as the FACE Act, prohibits physically obstructing or using the threat of force to intimidate or interfere with a person seeking reproductive health services.
The law also prohibits damaging property at abortion clinics and other reproductive health centers.
Courts have blocked other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas’ law differs significantly because it leaves enforcement up to private citizens through lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.
Justice Department officials have also been in contact with U.S. attorneys in Texas and the FBI field offices in the state to discuss enforcing the federal provisions.
‘The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack,’ Garland said.
‘We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act.’
Texas’ Attorney General Ken Paxton has blasted President Biden’s criticism of the Lone Star State’s new abortion law claiming it is just ‘trying to protect the unborn’.
Paxton slammed Biden as ‘un-American’ and maintained Texas has a ‘right’ to ‘regulate as they see fit’ during an appearance on Fox News on Sunday.
‘If anybody’s un-American, it’s the President, for not defending our borders and for what he’s allowed in Afghanistan’, Paxton said, hitting back at Biden who branded the new law ‘un-American’ on Friday.
Paxton added: ‘All Texas is trying to do is protect the unborn. We have a right, I think, to do that. We had a right before Roe v. Wade.
‘This system that the supreme court has set up is constantly changing based on different judges coming in and going out.
‘And it hasn’t worked. They need to go back to letting states regulate as they see fit. And each state can make their own decision and people can move the state they are most comfortable living in.’
Biden on Friday blasted the Texas abortion law as ‘un-American’ and said the Justice Department was exploring options to undermine it.
‘The most pernicious thing about the Texas law, it sort of creates a vigilante system where people get rewards to go out and – anyway.