Texas Sues Biden Over New Abortion Guidelines, While Conservative Groups Consider Additional Legal Action
The state of Texas is suing the Biden administration because of new guidelines issued on Monday that assure doctors across the country that they are protected under federal law when terminating a pregnancy for emergency treatment and threaten to cut off funding to hospitals that refuse to carry out such procedures.
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According to the guidance issued by the Biden administration, the federal law requires doctors to perform abortions for pregnant people in emergency rooms when it is “the stabilizing treatment necessary” to resolve a medical emergency, such as the treatment of an ectopic pregnancy, hypertension, or preeclampsia.
Biden Sued by Texas Over New Abortion Guidelines
The Biden administration warned pharmacies on Wednesday that if they refuse to fill prescriptions for abortion pills, they will violate federal civil rights law.
Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a nearly half-century-old precedent that had affirmed access to abortion as a constitutional right, these two recent actions have pitted the federal executive branch against state governments.
The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged the guidance in federal court on Thursday. They said that the guidance from the Biden administration goes against the state’s “sovereign interest in the power to make and enforce a legal code.”
Texas is one of a number of states that already have or will soon have laws that make it illegal to have an abortion. Texas will soon ban all abortions from the moment of fertilization, with only a few exceptions to save the life of a pregnant woman or prevent “substantial impairment of major bodily function.”
The Biden administration told the nation’s doctors that they don’t have to wait until a patient’s health gets worse before acting and that they can act if not treating them would cause serious harm. This came as doctors in Texas and other states where abortion is illegal are trying to figure out what kind of women’s health care is allowed under new rules. The purpose of the guidance isn’t to change the law but rather to make it more clear what responsibilities a hospital has under the EMTALA.
“In no uncertain terms, we are reinforcing that we expect providers to continue offering these services, and that federal law preempts state abortion bans when needed for emergency care,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Under the law, no matter where you live, women have the right to emergency care — including abortion care.”
The hospital could face a fine or have its Medicare status revoked if it fails to provide emergency abortion treatment when it is required to do so, as warned by the administration of President Joe Biden.
“These hospitals are now threatened with having to choose between violating state law under the threat of criminal penalty or jeopardizing their ability to participate in Medicaid,” Paxton’s office argued in the suit.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, responded to Paxton’s lawsuit by pointing out that the guidance is founded on pre-existing legal precedent.
“The Texas Attorney General’s lawsuit is yet another example of an extreme and radical Republican elected official,” Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter. “It is unthinkable that this public official would sue to block women from receiving life-saving care in emergency rooms, a right protected under U.S. law.”
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