OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
5:50 PM – Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Texas has the ability to ban emergency abortions, a federal appeals court decided, despite the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ assertion that a federal statute supersedes state laws that forbid the procedure.
On Tuesday, a federal appeals court decided that the Biden administration cannot apply a 1986 emergency care law that mandates Texas hospitals to perform abortions for pregnant women whose lives are in danger.
The ruling of a district court that supported Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was upheld by the 5th United States Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Leslie Southwick, a George W. Bush appointee, and Trump appointees Kurt Engelhardt and Cory Wilson also heard the appeal.
The 5th Circuit panel banded with the state of Texas, claiming that the vocabulary in the 1986 emergency care law mandates hospitals to “stabilize” the pregnant woman and her fetus.
“The Texas plaintiffs’ argument that medical treatment is historically subject to police power of the States, not to be superseded unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of Congress, is convincing,” Engelhardt wrote.
Last month, the Texas Supreme Court rejected a request for an emergency court order which enabled Kate Cox, a pregnant woman who discovered that her fetus had a deadly diagnosis, to have an abortion in the state. As a result, Cox left Texas to receive the procedure.
In 2022, Paxton filed a lawsuit to block supervision from the Department of Health and Human Services, which declared that doctors should provide abortions in emergency cases in compliance with a federal law passed in 1986.
As a result, this forced doctors to treat patients in emergency rooms with the necessary care, regardless of their financial situation.
Additionally, the Biden administration summoned a ruling by United States District Judge James Wesley Hendrix, who banned the federal organization from implementing the supervision in Texas and against two anti-abortion clusters of doctors in 2022.
Hendrix concluded in his decision that the department’s guidelines were “well beyond” the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act’s written language.
In his opinion on Tuesday, Engelhardt stated that the appeals court agreed with the district court’s conclusion that the federal statute known as EMTALA “does not provide an unqualified right for the pregnant mother to abort her child especially when EMTALA imposes equal stabilization obligations.”
“We therefore decline to expand the scope of EMTALA,” Engelhardt added.
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