Court blocks Biden rule requiring E.R. doctors to perform abortions

(The Center Square) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled against a Biden administration effort to require emergency room doctors to perform abortions, the latest step in an ongoing legal battle that could end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the case in question, State of Texas v. Becerra, the state of Texas joined forces with the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

The challengers took on the Biden administrations effort to broaden the interpretation of Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, a rule created to keep certain hospitals with emergency departments from turning patients away.

The Biden administration sought to use that law to require doctors to perform abortions in emergency situations, saying the federal guidance superseded state law.

But the Appellate Court unanimously ruled against the Biden administration.

“The question before the court is whether EMTALA, according to HHS’s Guidance, mandates physicians to provide abortions when that is the necessary stabilizing treatment for an emergency medical condition,” the ruling said. “It does not. We therefore decline to expand the scope of EMTALA.”

Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious freedom legal group involved in the case, celebrated the ruling.

“Hospitals – especially emergency rooms – are tasked with preserving life. The 5th Circuit correctly ruled that the federal government has no business transforming them into abortion clinics,” ADF Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Ryan Bangert said in a statement.

Bangert argued before the court in the case in question.

“Doctors shouldn’t be forced to break the Hippocratic Oath, and they shouldn’t have to choose between violating their deeply held beliefs or facing stiff financial penalties and being barred from the Medicare program,” he said. “Emergency room physicians can, and do, treat life-threatening conditions such as ectopic pregnancies.

“But elective abortion is not life-saving care – it ends the life of the unborn child – and the government has no authority to force doctors to perform these dangerous procedures,” he added.