Texas sues Biden admin over attempt to force doctors, hospitals to perform abortions

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


The state of Texas is suing the Biden administration over the Health and Human Services Department’s new guidance to physicians and hospitals, which says they must perform abortions in certain circumstances, regardless of state laws banning the procedure. 

The lawsuit, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, challenges HHS’s use of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) to force hospitals to violate state laws and perform abortions, according to a press release.

Paxton said the “unlawful” guidance violates the rights of doctors to refuse to terminate a pregnancy and subverts the state’s legal authority to regulate the procedure within its borders.

“By this move, the Biden Administration seeks to transform every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic. EMTALA does not authorize and has never been thought to authorize the federal government to require emergency healthcare providers to perform abortions,” Paxton said in a statement. 

“This administration has a hard time following the law, and now they are trying to have their appointed bureaucrats mandate that hospitals and emergency medicine physicians perform abortion. 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 continued.

“President Biden is flagrantly disregarding the legislative and democratic process — and flouting the Supreme Court’s ruling before the ink is dry — by having his appointed bureaucrats mandate that hospitals and emergency medicine physicians must perform abortions,” Paxton states in the complaint.

Should doctors and hospitals be required by the federal government to “commit crimes” by violating Texas law to perform abortions, they could lose their licensure, according to the suit. 

“Defendants’ Abortion Mandate forces hospitals and doctors to commit crimes and risk their licensure under Texas law. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) that Defendants cite as the basis for their Abortion Mandate does not authorize — and has never authorized — the federal government…to compel healthcare providers to perform abortions,” the complaint continues.

The Biden administration has taken several actions to circumvent state laws restricting abortions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, despite the fact that the ruling explicitly gives each state the right to determine abortion law, not the federal government.

Pursuant to President Biden’s July 8 executive order, the HHS issued guidance Wednesday directing pharmacies across the country to fill abortion-inducing prescriptions or risk violating federal anti-discrimination laws. On Monday, the agency sent a letter to healthcare providers asserting that federal law supersedes state abortion bans.

The Department of Justice on Tuesday announced the creation of a special abortion task force to monitor state and local actions on abortion. The task force has been granted authority to sue state and local governments it deems to have violated federal abortion protections or ban abortion pills.

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