(ReliableNews.org) – Texas is one of the Republican states that has enacted strict abortion restrictions. Although the law makes an exception for the life of the mother. However, the state is fighting guidance from President Joe Biden’s administration that requires doctors to perform emergency abortions to save a woman’s life. A federal court has sided with the state.
After the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion protections, the Department of Health and Human Services released guidance requiring doctors to provide abortions if the patient’s life is at risk. Biden’s administration cited the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which requires doctors to provide emergency treatment regardless of a person’s ability to pay.
The state of Texas sued the administration and said the guidance interfered with its right to restrict abortion. In 2022, US District Judge James Wesley Hendrix ruled in favor of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and blocked the administration’s guidance. He decided the guidance went “well beyond EMTALA’s text, which protects both mothers and unborn children.”
The administration appealed the ruling to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel heard the case: Judge Leslie Southwick, Cory Wilson, and Kurt Engelhardt. The opinion upheld Hendrix’s ruling and stated that Paxton’s argument that medical treatment is a state right unless a law by Congress supersedes it is “convincing.” Further, the panel determined the EMTALA doesn’t “provide an unqualified right” for a woman to abort a fetus because the law requires emergency workers to stabilize both the fetus and the mother.
The administration will likely appeal the ruling. In the meantime, the decision means that a woman could be denied an emergency abortion if her life is in danger. Idaho is also challenging the HHS guidance, arguing that the EMTALA has nothing to do with abortion. The state’s ban is currently being appealed.
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