On Tuesday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Biden administration cannot illegally use federal law to force emergency room doctors to perform abortions.
In an effort to install abortion mandates wherever possible after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the Biden administration attempted to use federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), to force emergency room doctors to perform abortions regardless of a doctor’s conscience or religious beliefs.
In the case, State of Texas v. Becerra, the state of Texas challenged the attempt to use EMTALA to force ER doctors to become abortionists.
In the decision, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the EMTALA does not require emergency room physicians to provide abortions.
Instead, EMTALA prevents hospitals from refusing to treat patients who are unable to pay for emergency services—requiring hospitals to stabilize both pregnant women and unborn children in emergencies.
Attorneys from The Alliance for Defending Freedom represented the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations alongside the state of Texas.
ADF asked the court to keep a lower court’s ruling in place, which halted the Biden administration from employing EMTALA for abortions.
The appeals court unanimously agreed.
ADF calls the ruling “a pivotal victory for women, children, and healthcare professionals.”
“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,” said ADF Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Ryan Bangert, who argued before the court. “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. 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. We are pleased that the courts are allowing emergency rooms to fulfill their primary function—saving lives.”
“EMTALA does not mandate any specific type of medical treatment, let alone abortion,” the court wrote. “We agree with the district court that EMTALA does not provide an unqualified right for the pregnant mother to abort her child especially when EMTALA imposes equal stabilization obligations.” The court thus rejected the Biden administration’s attempt to “expand the scope of EMTALA.”