In issuing its order on Wednesday, the court suggested that the state of Texas and two groups of pro-life physicians are likely to prevail in their case against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys representing the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) in State of Texas v. Becerra asked the court to halt the administration from employing the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) to force doctors to provide elective abortions in the emergency room while their lawsuit proceeds.
"After the Dobbs decision, the Biden administration announced that, going forward, if pregnant women showed up at an emergency room suffering from emergency conditions, abortion may be the required emergency treatment to treat those women," relays ADF attorney Ryan Bangert. "That is what the guidance document that the Biden administration released said."
According to Bangert, "no one disagrees" that there are conditions like ectopic pregnancies and hypertension that may require, in extreme circumstances, the unborn child to be separated from the mother.
"The problem with this guidance document is that it redefined the idea of emergency medical treatment to include incomplete medical abortions, and it also stripped out from the EMTALA statute the requirement that – when making treatment decisions in emergency situations – that doctors consider both the health of the pregnant woman and the unborn child," the attorney continues. "That's always been a requirement of EMTALA. The guidance document dropped the words 'unborn child' and centered everything only on the pregnant woman, which, of course, leads to the possibility, in fact the likelihood, that doctors in emergency rooms will be performing abortions that are unnecessary."
Bangert adds that the guidance document opens the door and "mandates in some circumstances" that doctors perform abortions when they are not medically necessary.
ADF plans to continue to litigate this case until it obtains permanent relief on behalf of its clients, AAPLOG and CMDA.