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Biden: Texas abortion law 'creates a vigilante system'

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President Biden strongly denounced Texas's new law banning all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which allows any citizen to sue anyone who performs, aids or intends to help facilitate such a procedure. 

“I have been, continue to be, a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade. The most pernicious thing about the Texas law is it sort of creates a vigilante system,” Biden told reporters Friday before leaving the White House to tour the devastation in Louisiana left behind by Hurricane Ida.

“It just seems, I know this sounds ridiculous, it's almost un-American, what we’re talking about,” Biden added. 

Legal experts say the provision in the new Texas law, which the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block, creates incentives for private citizens to file lawsuits to help enforce the Republican legislation in the state. 

“I respect people who don’t support Roe v. Wade,” Biden continued. “I respect their views. I respect those who believe that life begins in the moment of conception. I respect that. I don’t agree, but I respect that. Not going to impose that on people.”

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Friday.
President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Friday. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Biden also indicated that he was in discussion with officials at the Department of Justice about whether it might block the provision of the law that allows individuals to sue, even if they have no direct relationship with the patient or medical provider. 

“What I was told — and I must tell you, I am not certain — I was told there are possibilities within the existing law to have the Justice Department look and see whether there are things that can be done that can limit the independent action of individuals in enforcing ... a state law,” he said.  

While courts might have rejected similar lawsuits before the law was passed, on the grounds that they lacked standing, opponents of abortion say the new law has cleared the way for those legal challenges. 

“They have standing because the Legislature gives it to them,” John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, told the Houston Chronicle. “You don’t have to be personally harmed.”

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