By Mary Szoch
In the latest iteration of the Biden administration’s anti-Texas temper tantrum, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to place a hold on Texas’ Heartbeat Act (Senate Bill 8) until the legal challenges against the law have been decided.
The DOJ is asserting that their request relies on different arguments than those already considered by the Court, claiming that the federal government has the authority to challenge Senate Bill 8 and that the Texas law is unconstitutional because it “interferes with the federal government’s own activities” and violates the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Texas has until Thursday to respond, and Christians everywhere should pray that the DOJ’s appeal fails.
The Texas Heartbeat Act, which is estimated to save the lives of 150 babies every day, protects an unborn child in the womb after that child’s heart begins to beat. As the DOJ points out in its brief, an ultrasound can detect “cardiac motion [otherwise known as a heartbeat] beginning at approximately six weeks…but an embryo is not viable at six weeks, and many women do not even know they are pregnant at six weeks.”
Under Planned Parenthood v. Casey, courts have typically declared pre-viability bans on abortion to be unconstitutional. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the Texas Heartbeat Act to go into effect because rather than relying on the government to enforce the law, Senate Bill 8 relies on private citizens to bring civil lawsuits against those who perform an abortion procedure or aid or abet one. Women cannot be held liable for attempting to obtain an abortion, but abortionists, clinic workers, and people besides the woman paying for the abortion — anyone who performs an abortion on a woman’s baby or assists in that abortion in any way — can be sued for at least $10,000. Furthermore, under this law, “[F]ederal government employees and contractors who are required to facilitate abortion care cannot do so within the State.”
In other words, the law allows Texans to stand up for the rights of their neighbors — including the unborn and women being coerced into having abortions — and it protects Texans who correctly believe abortion ends the life of an innocent unborn child in the womb from paying for this atrocity with their tax dollars.
The DOJ’s frustration with the novel enforcement mechanism of Senate Bill 8 is evident, as they argue it was specifically designed to “evade ordinary constitutional review,” essentially admitting that Jonathan Mitchell, the attorney who designed the enforcement mechanism, outsmarted the pro-abortion industry. As Mitchell said, “It is practically impossible to bring a pre-enforcement challenge to statutes that establish private rights of actions because the litigants who will enforce the statute are hard to identify until they actually bring suit.” Basically, until someone sues a person who aids or abets an abortion, there is no one for pro-abortionists or the pro-abortion Biden administration to bring a legal challenge against. Of course, an abortionist could defy the law, but he risks a $10,000 penalty if he does so.
Texas Senate Bill 8 recognizes the truth that each person is his brother’s keeper. The fact that the unborn child whose heart is beating has not yet reached the point of viability and cannot survive outside his mother’s womb does not make him any less of a person than a newborn child, who is also unable to survive without the aid of adults. What’s more, the fact that the unborn child is not yet “viable” does not make him any less of a human being created in the image and likeness of God with incalculable dignity and the right to life.
The Biden administration seems determined to reverse the lifesaving Texas Heartbeat Act. Let’s pray for the president and his administration to have a complete conversion of heart and for the U.S. Supreme Court to once again protect the lives of the littlest Texans.