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State of Texas Sues the Biden Administration over HHS Guidance on Abortion

  • Scott Slayton Contributor
  • Published Jul 20, 2022
State of Texas Sues the Biden Administration over HHS Guidance on Abortion

The State of Texas filed a suit against the Biden Administration last week over new guidance that might force Lone-Star State doctors to perform abortions.

Attorney Ken Paxton filed the suit after the Department of Health and Human Services issued a memorandum stating that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires emergency treatment for patients “irrespective of any state laws or mandates that apply to specific procedures.” 

Lest any state misunderstands the point of the memorandum, it states, “In no uncertain terms, we are enforcing that we expect providers to continue offering these services, and that federal law preempts state abortion bans when needed for emergency care.”

The Texas suit claims that the Biden Administration’s guidance violates the 10th amendment by encroaching upon the rights of the state. It also alleges that since the memorandum ties Medicaid funding to compliance, it also runs afoul of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal money from being used to pay for abortions.

Paxton argues that through the new guidance, the Biden Administration seeks to transform every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic.” “EMTALA does not and has never been thought to authorize the federal government to require emergency healthcare providers to perform abortions.”

“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 abortions,” Paxton said. “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 laws to fit his administration’s unlawful agenda.”

The Department of Health and Human Services issued the memorandum after an Executive Order from President Biden ordered them to ensure women “have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under the law.”

The Biden Administration reacted strongly against the Texas suit. “This is yet another example of an extreme and radical Republican elected official,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “It is unthinkable that this public official would sue to block women from receiving life-saving care in emergency situations.”

“Federal law is clear: patients, no matter where they live, have the right to emergency care – including abortion care, if their doctor deems it necessary,” claimed an HHS spokeswoman in an email to the Washington Post. “HHS stands unwavering in our commitment to protecting patients’ right to access the health- and life-saving care that they need and that is protected by federal law. We will continue doing everything we can in the fight to protect access to health care, including reproductive health care.”

The Texas abortion law, which went into effect after the Dobbs ruling, contains an exception that allows doctors to perform abortions to save the mother’s life.


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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/yavdat

Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”