The Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Monday that it will safeguard women seeking abortions in Texas, which has been rocked by the passing of a controversial restrictive abortion law.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated in a news release that his agency will examine “all possibilities” to contest the new Texas law, as well as providing support to women in the Lone Star State who are still seeking abortions.
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“When an abortion clinic or a reproductive health center is attacked, the department will provide federal law enforcement assistance. We’ve contacted US Attorneys’ offices and FBI field offices in Texas and across the country to discuss the situation.
“Violence against persons seeking or providing reproductive health care, physical obstruction, or property damage in violation of the FACE Act will not be tolerated,” he stated.
According to the DOJ announcement, the FACE Act prohibits the use or threat of force, as well as physical hindrance, against a person seeking or providing reproductive services.
Damage to a health center that provides reproductive health care is likewise prohibited under the act, which was passed into law in 1994.
The decision by the Justice Department comes in the wake of the outcry to Texas’ new abortion ban, which went into force on Wednesday.
The bill, signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), effectively prohibits practically all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs at six weeks into a pregnancy.
In a 5-4 decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court refused to block Texas’ new abortion legislation.