US Justice Department vows to protect Texas abortion clinics

By: AFP      Published: 09:45 AM, 7 Sep, 2021
US Justice Department vows to protect Texas abortion clinics
File photo.

The US Justice Department promised Monday to use its federal powers to protect clinics performing abortions in Texas, the southern state that has adopted highly restrictive legislation on voluntary pregnancy terminations.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement his department "will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack."

Garland said the department had already "reached out" to prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation field offices in Texas "to discuss our enforcement authorities."

"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," the statement said.

The 1994 FACE Act, an acronym for Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances, prohibits any form of violence against the exercise of the right to abortion.

The administration of President Joe Biden is also looking for ways to legally counter the Texan law, which the US Supreme Court has refused to take up, dealing a major blow to abortion rights. 

That Texas law bans abortion once a heartbeat can be detected, which usually takes place at six weeks -- before many women even know they are pregnant -- except in a medical emergency.