Washington: The United States government met a federal judge on Friday demanding a swift block on the Texas law that bans most abortions, reports AFP. The Biden administration raised concerns about women's curtailed access to care, told the court in Austin that the law represents "an open threat to the rule of law".
The controversial statute came into force in the state of Texas on September 1st.
Challenging the statute, Deputy assistant attorney general Brian Netter described the ban as "a truly extraordinary law designed to outflank the federal government and to violate the constitution." He told the court that the law is "vigilante justice", and judicial intervention was needed until the case was decided.
But judge Robert Pitman asked the government if the state is so confident in the constitutionality of the limitations on a woman's access to abortion, why it went to such lengths to create this very unusual private cause of action. A ruling from the judge is expected soon in the issue.
The Texas law prohibits abortions after the stage when an embryo's heartbeat could be detectable, which is usually around six weeks of pregnancy. The law does not allow exceptions in cases of incest or rape, making it the most restrictive of its kind in the country. Also, it empowers anyone to file a lawsuit against a person who has assisted an abortion.
Netter argued that the law represents an unprecedented attack on the supremacy of the federal government and federal constitution.
Last month, the nine-justice Supreme Court had decided against intervening and blocking the law, citing "novel" procedural issues when the federal government argued for upholding Americans' constitutional rights.
Similar laws were passed in other states during recent years but were struck down as they violated US Supreme Court precedent from Roe v. Wade. In the 1973 ruling, the Supreme Court guaranteed a woman's right to an abortion until the foetus is viable outside the womb, around 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General's Office accused Netter of "inflammatory rhetoric" and asserted that the law respects Supreme Court precedent.