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my body, my choice

Attorney General Merrick Garland slams Texas' abortion ban as 'legislative scheme' that's 'clearly unconstitutional'

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas over its new six-week abortion ban, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday. The Texas law went into effect on Sept. 1 after the U.S. Supreme Court declined an emergency request to block it.

Garland called the ban "clearly unconstitutional under longstanding Supreme Court precedent," The Washington Post reports, and said it is invalid under the Supremacy Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment, is pre-empted by federal law, and violates the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity. The lawsuit asks a federal judge to declare the ban "invalid, null, and void," per its text, and to "enjoin the state and private parties from enforcing it," per Reuters' Brad Heath.

"The United States has the authority and the responsibility to ensure that no state can deprive individuals of their constitutional rights to a legislative scheme specifically designed to prevent the vindication of those rights," Garland added.

The law, known as Senate Bill 8, criminalizes abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, a time at which many women don't even know they're pregnant. It also deputizes and financially incentivizes private citizens to sue abortion-seeking individuals and anyone who aids and abets in the process, reports CNBC.

S.B. 8's "unprecedented" design aims to "to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible," Garland noted, and one does not need to "think long or hard to realize the damage that would be done to our society if states were allowed to implement laws that empower any private individual to infringe on another's constitutionally protected rights in this way."

Watch more of Garland's remarks below: