The Justice Department is planning to sue the state of Texas following a recently enacted law bans abortions once a “fetal heartbeat” is detected in a woman, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Citing people familiar with the plans, the newspaper reported a lawsuit could be filed as early as Thursday, though the sources noted the timeline could be later.
It was not immediately clear what argument the department would make, but one source that spoke with The Journal predicted it would be that federal interests were illegally interfered with by the Texas law.
The Hill has reached out to the White House and Department of Justice for comment.
Last week, the Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law, which effectively bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. It was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot on June 16 and became effective last week.
The law empowers private citizens to enforce the measure, awarding them $10,000 each time they are able to successfully sue someone who carries out or facilitates an abortion.
“While the Justice Department urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion, we will continue to protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services pursuant to our criminal and civil enforcement of the FACE Act,” Garland said in a statement on Monday.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Garland on Tuesday following his statement urging the department to take up legal action against “would-be vigilantes” who may try to enforce the Texas law themselves.
“We urge you to take legal action up to and including the criminal prosecution of would-be vigilantes attempting to use the private right of action established by that blatantly unconstitutional law,” the lawmakers wrote.