Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has joined a coalition of 24 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the U.S. Justice Department’s challenge to Texas’ ban on abortions after six weeks.

“Banning all abortions after six weeks will lead to disastrous health outcomes for Texans, Frey said. "What is also galling about this ban is its delegation of authority to a vigilante-style system of private enforcement which runs counter to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

The brief, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, argues that by banning nearly all pre-viability abortions within Texas’ borders, Senate Bill 8 violates nearly 50 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent affirming the constitutional right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy before viability.

The brief further contends that the Texas legislature sought to circumvent prior Supreme Court rulings by delegating enforcement authority to private citizens instead of the government and, as such, the bill is an “unprecedented attack on our constitutional order” and the rule of law.

The brief describes how Texas created a structure within its court system that provides monetary relief to claimants who bring cases against doctors who provide abortions and those who “aid and abet” such constitutionally protected care.

The new law threatens to penalize people who help patients in Texas obtain access to an abortion by creating a more than $10,000 potential liability for anyone who gives a patient a ride to an abortion provider, Frey said.

Clinics in neighboring states are reporting a rise in calls from Texas patients seeking abortions, according to the Maine Attorney general.  A day after the law went into effect in Texas on Sept. 1, all abortion clinics in New Mexico were already booked for weeks.

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