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Illinois AG files brief supporting DOJ lawsuit against Texas abortion ban

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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined 24 state attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting the federal government’s lawsuit against Texas’s new abortion ban.

The law, which went into effect, on Sept. 1, bans abortion if a “fetal heartbeat” can be heard and allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman in the state to obtain an abortion. Illinois activists and politicians condemned the law when it went into effect. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit over the law on Sept. 9.

“Perhaps more outrageous than Texas’ abortion ban that will force victims of rape and incest or women for whom abortion is a life-saving procedure to carry unwanted pregnancies, is the bounty Texas has placed on the heads of women seeking abortions and even those who provide transportation to those women,” Raoul said in a press release. “Texas’ unconstitutional law threatens the lives of women seeking safe abortion care, burdens states that will need to meet that need by providing care, and violates decades of Supreme Court precedent.”

The brief, filed on Wednesday, Sept. 15, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, argues that by banning nearly all pre-viability abortions within Texas’ borders, SB 8 violates nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent affirming the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability. The brief further contends that the Texas Legislature sought to circumvent prior Supreme Court rulings and prevent judicial review of the law by delegating enforcement authority to private individuals instead of the government and, as such, SB 8 is an “unprecedented attack on our constitutional order” and the rule of law.

The coalition said the purpose of the law was to create an “across-the-board ban on constitutionally protected activity.” It has also already impacted nearby states with more moderate abortion rules. In a press release, the coalition said that all abortion clinics in New Mexico were reportedly booked for weeks just a day after the law went into effect.

The brief calls for an immediate preliminary injunction against the law for the protection of women and for residents in their own states would could be liable for “aiding and abetting” Texas women who seek abortions.

Joining Raoul in the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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