The Biden administration has made protecting civil rights a priority. Beyond prosecutions, he is also investigating whether several police departments in major cities, including Minneapolis and Louisville, routinely violate the rights of people of color.
But the Justice Department has little power to fight Republican state legislatures that have been emboldened by the conservative shift in federal courts under the Trump administration. In Texas, the peculiarities of the law and the slow pace of prosecutions in the court system will make it difficult for the department to protect abortion rights in Texas in the short term. And the conservative Supreme Court majority could make it nearly impossible for the Biden administration to protect abortion rights nationwide in the long term.
This month, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, chose not to block Texas law, known as Senate Bill 8, which came into effect in late August. It bans all abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant.
Understanding Texas Abortion Law
The ruling forced Texas abortion providers to turn away patients to comply with the new restrictions. It has also raised concerns that providers face a series of lawsuits from private citizens and anti-abortion groups willing to take advantage of the leeway the law gives them to prosecute anyone who helps or intends to help. women requesting the procedure.
The unsigned majority opinion said medical providers challenging the law had failed to make their case, but the court was not ruling on the constitutionality of the law.
Even so, it was also seen as a threat to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that granted women the constitutional right to process, and it has reinvigorated advocates on both sides of the debate.