A federal judge has blocked Joe Biden’s attempt to force Texas hospitals to kill babies in abortions following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Texas Attorney General Paxton has filed a motion asking a federal court to block Joe Biden from misusing a federal law to compel Texas doctors and hospitals to do abortions above and beyond the very rare situations where an abortion may be necessary to save the life of the mother.
Paxton filed a motion to enjoin the Biden Administration from using a provision of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) to require Texas hospitals and doctors to perform abortions as a condition of receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding.
He said Biden’s recent pro-abortion mandate “has the effect of requiring doctors and hospitals to choose between performing abortions in violation of State law or caring for women as they always have while incurring fines and the loss of federal funding” and added that Biden is misusing a federal law designed to protect unborn children to try to force abortions.
A federal judge has sided with the state.
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US District Judge James Wesley Hendrix in Lubbock agreed with Paxton, saying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ guidance was unauthorized and went beyond the text of a related federal law. As Reuters reported, the victory was limited in its scope:
The judge declined to enjoin the guidance nationwide and instead only barred HHS from enforcing it and its interpretation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act in Texas and against two anti-abortion groups of doctors.
Hendrix ruled ahead of an expected Wednesday ruling by another judge on whether a near-total ban in Idaho challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice conflicts with the same federal statute at issue in Texas’s case.
In his ruling, Hendrix, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump, said the guidance went too far in extending that 1986 federal law, which seeks to ensure hospitals provide emergency medical care for the poor and uninsured.
“That Guidance goes well beyond EMTALA’s text, which protects both mothers and unborn children, is silent as to abortion, and preempts state law only when the two directly conflict,” he wrote.
Judge Hendrix in his ruling explained that EMPALA’s text explicitly “protects both mothers and unborn children” but that Biden’s guidance “discards the requirement to consider the welfare of unborn children when determining how to stabilize a pregnant woman” and that it “conspicuously eliminates the physician’s statutory duty to stabilize the health of the ‘unborn child’ when in serious jeopardy.”
He ruled that Texas law doesn’t conflict with EMTALA because it “permit[s] abortions to protect the mother’s life or to avoid a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function” and thus allows the provision of the stabilizing care EMTALA calls for.
Paxton says Texas law has long permitted doctors to perform abortions when the life of the mother is at risk. That is still the law. EMTALA does not empower the federal government to change that. EMTALA requires hospitals to treat patients the same regardless of their ability to pay; it does not authorize the federal government to commandeer the practice of medicine.
“While the Biden Administration continues to make up rules that are unconstitutional, I will keep holding them accountable,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I will not allow the Biden Administration to threaten doctors and hospitals with this unlawful mandate and put millions of Texans’ access to healthcare on the line.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is attempting to use the federal law that protects the “unborn child” to force Idaho to keep abortions legal.
National Review described the lawsuit from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland as a “bogus legal assault” on the Idaho abortion ban. Scheduled to go into effect Aug. 25, the law protects unborn babies by banning abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.
The federal government brought the suit seeking to invalidate the state’s “criminal prohibition on providing abortions as applied to women suffering medical emergencies,” Garland said.
His is one of several lawsuits filed against the Idaho law in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this summer.
But Garland’s lawsuit makes an “unusual” argument by claiming the pro-life law violates the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), according to National Review.
The federal law requires hospital emergency rooms to treat and “stabilize” anyone suffering from a medical emergency if they receive Medicaid funds. Its purpose is to make sure hospitals do not kick out patients suffering from medical emergencies if they cannot pay for treatment.
The Biden administration lawsuit claims the Idaho law violates the EMTALA by banning abortions that would “stabilize” the health of a “pregnant patient,” the report states.
“Stabilize” is the key word. The Biden administration seemingly wants to expand the definition to include abortions in a wide-range of circumstances because, with actual medical emergencies involving pregnancy, treatment already is allowed under the Idaho law.
Interestingly, the Biden administration is citing EMTALA even though the federal law specifically requires emergency rooms to take steps to protect unborn babies.
“… far from being any sort of abortion mandate, EMTALA’s definition of ’emergency medical condition’ would generally require stabilizing treatment for both a pregnant woman and ‘her unborn child,’” Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center responded.
National Review continued:
EMTALA provides no basis at all to require states to permit abortion anywhere but in the emergency room of a hospital that takes Medicare patients, and, even then, treatment is required only where the pregnant woman arrives with “a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in- (i) placing the health of the . . . pregnant woman . . . or her unborn child . . . in serious jeopardy, (ii) serious impairment to bodily functions, or (iii) serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.” If a woman has some condition that places her in no immediate danger, EMTALA’s mandate to provide “stabilizing” treatment would not apply.
The Idaho pro-life law will save lives. In 2019, 1,513 unborn babies were aborted in the state, according to state health department data.
As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.
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Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.
Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. This week, Mississippi became the 10th and South Carolina became the 11th,Texas became the 12th with its pre-Roe law and Tennessee became the 13th.
Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have old pro-life laws on the books but there is question about whether they are applicable and will be enforced.
Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.
Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion and a new national poll shows 75% of Americans essentially agree with the Supreme Court overturning Roe.
Despite false reports that abortion bans would prevent doctors from treating pregnant women for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, pro-life doctors confirm that is not the case. Some 35 states have laws making it clear that miscarriage is not abortion and every state with an abortion ban allows treatment for both.