Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) sued the Biden administration July 14 after Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra released guidance July 11 requiring doctors to provide abortions in medical emergencies when “abortion is the stabilizing treatment necessary to resolve [the emergency] condition.” The guidance went on to say that “when a state law prohibits abortion and does not include an exception for the life and health of the pregnant person — or draws the exception more narrowly than EMTALA’s emergency medical condition definition — that state law is preempted.”
Paxton argued the guidance was too broad and that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act did not cover abortions. He said, “The Biden administration seeks to transform every emergency room in the country into a walk-in abortion clinic.”
Texas law prohibits all abortions unless a pregnancy “places the female at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function.”
The HHS guidance came after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on June 24, overturning Roe v. Wade (1973) and ruling there is no constitutional right to abortion. Dobbs returned most abortion policy decisions to the states.
For more information on Dobbs and its effect on abortion policy, click here. To learn more about state responses to federal mandates, click here.
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization