Fed Court Halts Biden’s Provisions for Abortion Access in Texas

(LibertySons.org) – In the wake of the historic Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court decision rendered in June 2022, the Health and Human Services Department issued nationwide guidance to hospitals. They clarified physicians’ obligations to provide care under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), up to and including medically necessary abortions, based on Biden administration policy. The State of Texas filed suit in July 2022, alleging that HHS was exceeding its authority by mandating abortion care in states where legislatures had outlawed it. On Tuesday, January 2, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a December 2022 District Court decision in favor of Texas, halting the directive to provide abortion services.

The State of Texas initially took its case to the US District Court in the Northern District of Texas. District Judge James Hendrix issued a preliminary injunction in August 2022 but made that determination permanent in December 2022, pending the appeal. All the judges noted that while the EMTALA mandates that patients who require care should receive it, the act doesn’t dictate specifics on the provision of care for any condition other than pregnancy. In all other aspects, the EMTALA demands care without regard to a patient’s ability to pay.

According to the Texas Tribune, Judge Leslie Southwick, one of the three Appellate judges who heard the case, said the HHS EMTALA guidance appeared to expand abortion access by suggesting providers could include definitions of life-threatening conditions in broader, non-traditional categories like mental health.

Judge Kurt Engelhardt, another of the three-judge panel, wrote the order for Tuesday’s ruling. He said that the appellate panel agreed with the District Court in finding the EMTALA and guidance stemming from the act doesn’t allow pregnant mothers to abort their children. Legislators never intended the measure to mandate treatments or preempt state laws.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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