AG Merrick Garland: DOJ will provide support to Texas abortion clinics

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In the wake of the Supreme Court’s shadow-docket approval of Texas’s bonkers abortion law, it’s no surprise that other Republican governors in deep-red states are also looking to pass restrictive, Handmaid’s Tale-esque restrictions on reproductive rights. Apparently, Florida, Arkansas and Indiana Republicans are all planning to push through some draconian restrictions too in the coming weeks and months. Meanwhile, President Biden authorized a “whole-of-government” response to these blatant and unconstitutional attacks on women. His Attorney General Merrick Garland is already exploring which DOJ resources they’ll use to protect Texas women:

The Justice Department is exploring “all options” to challenge Texas’s restrictive abortion law, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday, as he vowed to provide support to abortion clinics that are “under attack” in the state and to protect those seeking and providing reproductive health services.

The move by the nation’s top law enforcement official comes just days after the Supreme Court refused to block a Texas abortion statute that bans the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. The court’s action stands as the most serious threat to Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling establishing a right to abortion, in nearly 50 years.

“We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act,” said Garland, referring to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, a 1994 law that prohibits threats to and obstruction of a person seeking reproductive health services or of providers.

Garland said the Justice Department has reached out to U.S. Attorneys’ offices and FBI field offices in Texas and across the country to “discuss our enforcement authorities.”

“The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack,” Garland said.

[From WaPo]

Sure, that’s great – federal resources devoted to helping abortion clinics and reproductive services offices and all of that. That’s good. But… that’s not the only issue here. People are still going to turn in their neighbors, turn in gynecologists and nurses and Planned Parenthood secretaries and everybody else. There’s still a de facto restriction. Whew.

Meanwhile, there’s still a pretty disconcerting silence from conservative media and many Republicans in office. Partly because Republicans know that Texas accidentally opened Pandora’s Box and created millions of single-issue voters hellbent on protecting reproductive rights. Even Donald Trump (!!) said the Texas law was “very complex and also probably temporary.” GOP Senator Bill Cassidy also said that that the Supreme Court will eventually “swat it away” and the TX law will “be destroyed by the Supreme Court.” So that’s where we are – Republicans are shocked that the anti-woman, anti-choice justices they shoved into the Supreme Court have not already saved the Republican Party’s collective asses by tossing this crazy law. The GOP needs to keep their anti-choice voters agitated and aggrieved with Roe. The intention was never to actually overturn Roe and deal with the fallout.

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53 Responses to “AG Merrick Garland: DOJ will provide support to Texas abortion clinics”

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  1. Merricat says:

    I hope this galvanizes women all over the United States. We own our bodies, full stop. What freaking century is this, anyway?

    • Robyn says:

      I hope this also galvanizes cis straight men to get in the streets and anti-choice people’s faces because it’s way past time they show some real solidarity, put *their* bodies and comfort on the line, and take some damn responsibility.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Because what it’s sure to galvanize are cells of radicals intent on bringing multiple levels of ruin to families, professionals and businesses. They will stalk. They will monitor and infringe upon daily lives from every angle. There are no more neighbors in Texas.

  2. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    On a side note Abbott’s popularity is doing a deep nose dive here in the state. I have a friend who WAS a ride -or-die Abbott supporter and she is so disgusted with him and his antics that she dropped her republican registration. It isn’t just the abortion issue she said, it’s one thing after another with him.
    (I am trying to entice her to come to the dark side 😎😎)
    It’s been interesting to watch.

    • Rosebud says:

      Time will tell if people especially women are really disgusted enough not to vote for him. 67% of white women voted for him, so I’m curious to see how they’ll vote next year. I’m not getting my hopes up but we’ll see. There is a voting pattern where white women might express disappointment but still vote for the GOP because to them “libs are evil communists” etc. I remember white women were acting so shocked at Trump’s behaviour then they voting for him in larger numbers in 2020. I just don’t trust my voting block to do the right thing. I hope they prove me wrong, but I doubt they will. *deep sigh*

      • Anna says:

        Agreed @Rosebud Always the lip-service, if even that, but when comes time to vote, white overwhelmingly protects white, regardless of gender. We shall see but as a Black woman, I am definitely not holding my breath.

      • Betsy says:

        @Anna – if they understand finally that the GOP doesn’t respect them as human, they will. I’m a White woman who has never cast a vote for a Republican in my life and never ever will, so the fact that White women keep upholding the patriarchy, unquestioningly, just makes me want to barf. Make whatever decisions you want in your own life, but don’t force others to live your whacked out belief system.

    • Rosebud says:

      Merlinsmom1018, have you asked your friend if and who she’s voting for? I’m curious if she’s going to back up her words with action or just empty rhetoric about being disgusted.

      • MerlinsMom1018 says:

        Hi Rosebud
        We’ve had lots of discussions about that lately and all I can say is that It’s not lip service. She has been asking really serious, tough questions about who, and what and why I believe like I do.
        Right now it’s still fairly early to know who will be going up against abbott, so I am sure the discussions will go deeper. She’s willing to keep an open mind and go from there

    • psl says:

      I hope you are right. He and DeSantis are the worst! They both need to GO.

    • Plums says:

      Just one quibble of an FYI- There’s no party registration in Texas. We are an open primary state. And the cross aisle sabotage is part of why we have so many crazies in office, imo.

    • Naomi says:

      He is beaming in today’s newspapers, so happy to pass through restrictive voting laws that will keep him in power.

  3. lemontwist says:

    ““We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act,” said Garland”

    The United States HAS been tolerating this violence for a goddamn while. Health care providers have been targeted for decades. That is exactly why we are where we are now.

    With the Supreme Court we have now, we’re kind of f*’d but I am hanging my last hope on the fact that taking away a right is much for difficult than denying it in the first place and a lot has changed in the almost 50 years since Roe v. Wade.

  4. Bettyrose says:

    Expand the Supreme Court and extend Congressional representation to DC and Puerto Rico. These are the only options for combating the legacy of the Trump administration. But if these things happen, as they’ve needed to for decades, it’s a silver lining. Our nation is suffering tyranny of the minority and it’s time to fight back with everything we have.

    • Rosebud says:

      There aren’t enough votes to do so. People want a quick fix to the damage that was done by not working hard enough to elect Hillary in 2016. This is why people have to vote in every single election and stop underestimating the evil of republicans. Elections are not a game. They have far lasting consequences.

      • Bettyrose says:

        Rosebud, the midterm elections are around the corner. The time to work hard is now. -Admittedly I didn’t do much to get Hillary elected other than vote for her and pressure my Bernie ride or die family to vote for her. But I’m in California. I did however campaign hard for Harris, then Warren, then Harris again on Biden’s ticket. I rented winter clothes and went to Iowa to knock on doors before their caucus. I spent hours each week phone banking. First for the presidential election and then the Georgia Senate runoffs. I’m practicing what I’m preaching but to keep hope alive I’m also pointing out whenever I can that there is a clear and defined path to talking back our nation from this militant minority.

    • Emma says:

      Congressional representation should be extended to ALL the territories not just Puerto Rico and furthermore they should have elections to determine their status themselves rather than us continuing to impose colonialism.

      (Used to live in Guam. Couldn’t vote. It was so regressive.)

    • Lizzie says:

      Absolutely agree.

    • Rosebud says:

      I agree 100%. People have to make a plan to vote now because the GOP will try to put up all kinds of hurdles. But people also have to understand how we got here otherwise we’ll keep going around in this circle of dysfunction.

    • Swack says:

      My brother suggests that since there are 13 federal districts in the US, there should be 13 Supreme Court justices – one from each district. They should be voted into their office and have a ten year term limit. That way the SC represents the people and not the party (although that would play into it somewhat). This may be a step in making the court a little more independent.

      • bettyrose says:

        @Swack – That’s brilliant! Why is this not more widely discussed?

      • Anna says:

        Such a great idea

      • Naomi says:

        Abbott is beaming in today’s newspapers, so happy to pass through restrictive voting laws that will keep him in power.

        In Texas, doesn’t Abbott represent the vote of the people? I mean, they voted for him. These Republicans in legislators see women as stock animals. They were voted in, too. I get that there is gerrymandering, but there are also many conservatives in Texas. This is what their will looks like.

      • Agirlandherdog says:

        I have seen the kind of judges you get when you allow them to be elected by popular vote. At least now, nominees to the Court are vetted and their dirty laundry is aired on national tv for everyone to see (if they care to watch). Inevitably, in a judicial race, the candidate who wins is the one who’s name appears first on the ballot. Because voters don’t know a thing about the candidates, and they don’t take the time to research them.

  5. Deanne says:

    There are Republicans who are referring to women as “ host bodies” . It’s so disturbing it literally churns my stomach.

    • Lightpurple says:

      The “host” language is truly disturbing. It reduces the woman to an object for a parasite.

      Equally disturbing is the: “Abortion is not healthcare” that they are drumming into people. It certainly is healthcare to a woman with cancer or septicemia an ectopic or any of the many other things that can go wrong with a human body during the nine months of pregnancy but by convincing people it’s not healthcare, they completely negate those lives. And yes, I have seen right wingers argue that such women should be sacrificed for their “miracle babies” even though those pregnancies aren’t viable.

    • iconoclast59 says:

      To me, forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term against her will is indentured servitude. Why was this argument not used for Roe v. Wade? With the ramp-up of the surveillance state, the privacy argument is on shaky ground, not just for medical issues like abortion/HIPAA, but employment, 4th amendment, etc. Any lawyers on CB who can explain why you can’t make the argument that forced pregnancy is a form of slavery?

      • Juls says:

        I would go further than that. Physical abuse, attempted murder, actual murder if the woman dies from, say, an ectopic pregnancy that she’s not allowed to abort.

    • Emma says:

      That is so dehumanizing. We are so close to a Gilead-esque dystopia or that group in Dune that kept women paralyzed. “Host bodies” is rape culture talking.

      I’m thankful to live in a deep blue state, but horrified for those in states without any humane leadership.

    • Lizzie says:

      That’s nothing compared to how I refer to them.

    • Lizzie says:

      a remark like that got Claire McCaskill a second Senate term in red MO – Todd Akin said if a ‘legitimate rape’ occurred women have a way to shut that(pregnancy) down. I think Claire contributed to his primary campaign after he made that gaff.

  6. Honey says:

    Good for AG Garland. Roe v. Wade is federal law which trumps (pardon the pun) state law and no patient or provider will be faced with criminal charges for a legal abortion. As a Texan, I am appalled at the razzle dazzle reality show tactics that Texas lawmakers are using to attack medical providers and women seeking abortions. Yeah, tattletales can grab a $10k bounty for turning in these folks, but, in all practicality, it’s unattainable — it’s civil penalty, not criminal. Try filing a civil suit and seeing a real payout between legal and filing fees, providing proper evidence and a glacial court scheduling timeline. Just Texas lawmakers counting on voter “sheep” to react to fear tactics and intimidation. My own opinion is that all Texas voters, whether pro-life or pro-choice, should be disgusted with our lawmakers misuse of legislative privilege to incite fear and chaos. There are a couple of important abortion cases scheduled for the Supreme Court soon and Texas seems to be playing their part as a distraction.

    • Anna says:

      Difficulty in payout is not going to stop people trying. That “free snitch money” draw will go far to destroy what little civil rights abortion-seeking individuals have.

  7. Agirlandherdog says:

    I’ll be honest and admit that I have not had the opportunity to research the new TX law. From what I understand, it creates civil liability among private citizens. Not criminal liability. I assume the law is intended to “create” parity of contract between the @**hole filing suit and the person being sued. But the person filing suit hasn’t suffered any actual harm. It’s a pretty standard tenet of civil liability that you have to prove harm. These people haven’t suffered any harm. Their lives haven’t changed in any way whatsoever from someone else having an abortion. They’ve suffered no damages. It’s ridiculous. And what about HIPAA? If someone does file one of these suits, they’d have to prove a woman actually had an abortion. Which means accessing her protected health information. Is she intended to be called as a witness and forced to admit on the stand that she received an abortion?? WTF. There’s a lot here that can be challenged, but it will be years to work through those challenges.

    I think the more immediate concern is the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges, forcing clinics to close, and limiting options for women seeking healthcare.

  8. Willow says:

    Putting aside the abortion part of this ‘law’, which is horrible all on it’s own, the way it’s enforced is just…I have no words. How can anyone just sue another person if they have a suspicion that they helped someone get an abortion? And if they lose each person pays their own court costs? So if my co-worker is annoying, I could sue them over and over again, using this law. It would be legal harassment.

  9. Sal says:

    Government mask mandates during a pandemic are too invasive and offensive for the GOP, but they’re fine with government forced pregnancy.

  10. bears says:

    I can’t speak for anyone else but if someone turned me or a loved one in for getting an abortion, I’d burn their house down while they slept inside it. Enough is enough. Zero compassion for people who try to control my body. I don’t mind signing petitions or carrying protest signs but when it gets real, I’ve got matches.

  11. CountryBumpkin says:

    I am a born & raised Texan. This law and the voter suppression law is making me look at options to move out of the state. From what I have read and my understanding- I could be way off. The person bringing the civil lawsuit does not have to prove the person had/performed the abortion it would be the sued person’s responsibility. Also, from what I understand the way the law is written is you can’t say it is a frivolous lawsuit. The Repugs/evangelicals in my state keep telling me we love our children but research shows this is not true:
    Texas ranks 50th for kids’ health & access to health care. They rank 45th in kids’ nutrition, physical activity & obesity. They rank 42nd in kids’ oral health. 32nd in kids’ economic well-being. 30th in kids’ education. And 47th in family & community well-being.
    So this tells me that Texas has very little interest in their children after they leave the womb. They only care about controlling womens’ choices about their reproduction

  12. kimberly says:

    …these same women who claim to be all about “their freedoms”…vote to take away women’s rights….I am not a spitter….but I would really like to spit in their faces and possibly kick them behind the knees….

    • Rosebud says:

      @ KIMBERLY
      There’s no cognitive dissonance in that case. They believe they and those they deem worthy to have the freedom to do whatever including taking away freedoms and rights from those they consider “less than.” It’s an authoritarian mindset which exemplifies MAGAism. They want to have total power to control others.

      • Sal says:

        I agree. This is about control, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with moral values and there certainly isn’t anything “pro-life” about this law (or anything the GOP fights for tbh).

    • Betsy says:

      Francis WIlhoit: “ Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.”

      They’re in the favored group. They don’t care what laws are enforced for the disfavored group, or how. They don’t care.

      They will if the laws get more draconian, though.

  13. Rapunzel says:

    Under this law, an Uber driver could be sued for driving a woman to an abortion clinic. It’s absurd and will clog courts to no end.

    And f–k anybody who calls a pregnant woman a “host body.” That’s disgusting.

    • Anna says:

      @Rapunzel Just a note that both Lyft and Uber have pledged funds to support any drivers who are sued based on this. Thank goodness companies are doing the right thing, but it’s still going to be on the drivers to shoulder the daily/moment-by-moment burden of supporting these individuals, outside of the scope of what their meager pay would and should entail. They are not first responders or defense techs but they will be put into that role.

  14. phlyfiremama says:

    The Women’s March for Reproductive Rights is on October 2nd~this will be occurring EVERYWHERE, so SHOW UP for the rest of us please.

  15. Gracie says:

    It’s finally come to the point that I’m physically moving my family to a blue state. I am grateful for the privilege to be able to make that decision, and even though it will require financial sacrifice, as a woman I no longer feel safe in R-led environments. I took pride in helping take out a conservative vote before, but with gerrymandering my vote in my current area does nothing. It can do more in the sometimes purple state we are moving to.

  16. EllenOlenska says:

    Out every Republican mistress that ever had an abortion. Every daughter. Every wife. Every grandma.

    Years ago the LBGTQ movement would not out closeted gay politicians even when they actively and vigorously worked to hurt the community. It was born of taking the high road and being able to have principles and valuing every persons journey to coming out. It was a noble idea. Very principled.

    Let’s not make the same mistake again.