Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Sues Joe Biden for Threatening Hospitals That Don’t Abort Babies

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 15, 2022   |   1:45PM   |   Washington, DC

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a new Biden administration action that threatens hospitals with loss of Medicaid funds if their emergency rooms refuse to abort unborn babies.

The lawsuit comes in response to a new guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday – one of the Biden administration’s many actions to expand abortions post-Roe v. Wade. The guidance invokes the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act to require hospitals to perform abortions for “emergency medical conditions,” a broad term that may include situations where it is not necessary to abort the unborn baby.

“By this move, the Biden Administration seeks to transform every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Texas and a dozen other states protect unborn babies by banning abortions in all or almost all cases. However, every state law allows exceptions for the rare cases when a mother’s life is at risk.

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The Biden administration’s new guidance to hospitals on Monday appears to be just a reminder that emergency rooms must do abortions when mothers’ lives are at risk.

But pro-life leaders said the directive does more than that.

“While the federal directive claims to focus only on life-threatening circumstances, language in the administration’s new guidance would actually broaden abortions when the mother’s life is not in danger,” Texas Right to Life responded this week in an email.

The pro-life organization said the Biden administration is using the directive to allow unborn babies to be unnecessarily killed in abortions in pro-life states. And if hospitals refuse to comply, their participation in Medicare/Medicaid could be in jeopardy.

“Joe Biden is trying to weaponize our communities’ life-saving doctors and hospitals to push his abortion agenda,” said Texas Right to Life senior legislative associate Rebecca Parma. “We look forward to once again beating the Biden administration in court and saving lives.”

The pro-life laws in Texas and other states include clearly defined exceptions that allow abortions in the cases when a mother’s life is at risk. Because the pro-life movement cares about the lives of both mother and child and there are rare cases in which only the mother’s life can be saved, it supports such exceptions.

But these exceptions mean the Biden administration’s guidance is unnecessary. Undermining Texas’s life-saving efforts and expanding abortions appear to be the administration’s real goal.

“I will ensure that President Biden will be forced to comply with the Supreme Court’s important decision concerning abortion and I will not allow him to undermine and distort existing laws to fit his administration’s unlawful agenda,” Paxton said.

According to the lawsuit, the Biden administration is “weaponizing” the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act for its pro-abortion agenda, because the law does not allow the federal government to demand that medical workers abort unborn babies.

The guidance also places hospitals in an impossible situation in which, under Texas law, they could face criminal penalties for aborting an unborn baby or, under the Biden administration’s directive, risk being banned from Medicaid/Medicare if they do not, the lawsuit continues.

Texas banned abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks, in September 2021, and enacted its full abortion ban this summer after the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

Pro-life laws save unborn babies’ lives and protect pregnant mothers. Currently, about a dozen states have abortion bans in effect, and The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates more than 120,000 unborn babies are being saved from abortion as a result. All pro-life laws allow exceptions if the mother’s life is at risk, and clearly state that miscarriages are not abortions.

For nearly 50 years, Roe forced states to legalize abortion on demand up to viability. As a result, more than 63 million unborn babies were killed in abortions. On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a huge victory for life when it overturned Roe.

Now, states are allowed to protect unborn babies from abortion again, and as many as 26 may protect unborn babies by banning abortions in the months to come.