The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday it will take action to protect women seeking abortions and abortion providers in Texas, The Hill reports.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the implementation of a Texas law banning abortions once fetal cardiac activity has been detected. Under the law, SB8, private citizens can sue those who they believe aided or performed the medical procedure, garnering $10,000 for each successful suit.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Biden administration has vowed to vigorously fight the measure. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said Friday, "Every American deserves access to health care no matter where they live — including access to safe and legal abortions. HHS is taking actions to support and protect both patients and providers from this dangerous attack on Texans' health care.''
Among the action being taken by HHS is direct funding to the abortion rights group Every Body Texas, which distributes money to abortion providers throughout the state. Becerra said the administration would also distribute up to $10 million in grants to facilities across the country that have seen an increase in clients since the Texas law went into effect.
''Today we are making clear that doctors and hospitals have an obligation under federal law to make medical decisions regarding when it's appropriate to treat their patients," Becerra added. "And we are telling doctors and others involved in the provision of abortion care, that we have your back."
The HHS announcement is just one effort the Biden administration is using to battle the Texas law. Earlier this week, the Department of Justice filed a motion asking for either a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order that would halt the ban from going into effect.
''This relief is necessary to protect the constitutional rights of women in Texas and the sovereign interest of the United States in ensuring that its States respect the terms of the national compact,'' the department wrote in its motion.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's press secretary, Renae Eze, told The Hill in a statement on Thursday they were ''confident that the courts will uphold and protect that right to life.''
''The most precious freedom is life itself. Texas passed a law that ensures that the life of every child with a heartbeat will be spared from the ravages of abortion,'' Eze said Thursday. ''Unfortunately, President Biden and his administration are more interested in changing the national narrative from their disastrous Afghanistan evacuation and reckless open border policies instead of protecting the innocent unborn.''
On Wednesday, a federal judge refused the requests of the Biden administration to block implementation of the law. Instead, the judge scheduled a hearing for Oct. 1 to review the merits of the administration's motion.
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