Via America’s Lawyer: Activists across the country have slammed TX’s new abortion law as unconstitutional, and it turns out the Justice Department feels the same way. RT correspondent Brigida Santos joins Mike Papantonio to explain how the Heartbeat Act prevents abortions before women even know they’re pregnant, and encourages private citizens to act as abortion “bounty hunters.”


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             The Justice Department has sued the state of Texas over its new six week ban on abortion saying the law is unconstitutional. Brigida Santos joins me now to talk about the details. Brigida, for those who don’t know, what are the abortion rules under the new Texas law?

Brigida Santos:                   The Texas heartbeat act prohibits abortions after the detection of an embryo’s cardiac activity, which typically occurs during week five or six of pregnancy. Now, pregnancy is calculated from the first day of a woman’s last menses, meaning five or six weeks pregnant is only three or four weeks after conception. And many don’t, many women don’t know they’re pregnant at this very early stage. And also many doctors won’t even schedule a patient’s first ultrasound until they’re at least eight weeks pregnant. So this law gives women little to no time to consider their options and allows private citizens anywhere in the country to file a civil lawsuit against people in Texas who assist a pregnant woman seeking abortion after cardiac activity is detected. This law was specifically designed to make private citizens the enforcers of the rules, rather than government officials who are prohibited from enforcing the heartbeat act. And Mike, it’s very important to note that male lawmakers cast the majority of votes in favor of passing the heartbeat act since women only make up 27% of the Texas legislature. Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of female lawmakers in the state voted in opposition of this bill.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. So you’ve got the new bounty hunter law, which is they get $10,000 if they, if they can create a case where somebody has helped a woman get an abortion, including have they drove, have they driven that woman to an abortion clinic? And so it, look, there are so many constitutional issues. I think the Supreme Court in this case said, ultimately, they know it’s going to go away. I think everybody got upset with the US Supreme Court in their position on this. But truthfully, they, there were some, there were some technical issues that had to be resolved first and that’s all that’s going on. Why did the DOJ say that it’s in constant, unconstitutional? What’s their position?

Brigida Santos:                   First of all, US attorney general Merrick Garland says the law violates longstanding Supreme Court precedent established in the landmark 1973 decision in Roe V. Wade, of course, in which the court ruled that the constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. Now, the Texas bill does bar government officials from enforcing this law. So the DOJ is trying to get around that fact by referring to private parties who sue abortion aiders as agents of the state. We’ll see whether that argument holds up. The justice department also says the Texas ban imposes harm on federal personnel by preventing them from doing their jobs when securing abortion access for people in the federal government’s care.

Mike Papantonio:             What’s the Supreme Court said so far? My reading of it is it’s, it’s just, it’s not, it’s no finale to anything the Supreme Court said. That’s why I watch these talk, you know, there’s talking heads on TV that acts like it’s all over. It, you know, it’s not. This is, this is simply, it’s they’ve said we need, we need an interim to figure out how the law develops in the state from some technical standpoints. What’s your, what is your take on what the Supreme Court said?

Brigida Santos:                   Yeah, you’re absolutely right. So far, the Supreme Court has declined a request from abortion providers in the state to freeze the new rules stating that clinics hadn’t met the burden that would allow the high court to do so. And as you said, there are a ton of technicalities. However, the majority has also said that the court has not formed a conclusion about the constitutionality of this new law and that the issue may now be brought forward in state courts. That of course would pave the way for the issue to potentially escalate back to the US Supreme Court down the road. But for now, we’re going to have to wait and see what happens with the Justice Department’s lawsuit.

Mike Papantonio:             Now I don’t think anything really changes. You’ve got this breathless ranting by people. What’s her name, Joy Behar on or whatever her name is, on The View and just chumming everybody up as if this is the end. It’s almost, you almost can’t watch it for the stupidity. This is not a big problem at all. This is just a matter of when is the Supreme Court going to finally make the determination and they will. Thank you for joining me, Brigida.

Brigida Santos:                   Thanks, Mike.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.