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Federal Judge Blocks Biden’s Attempt To Override State Abortion Law

James Hendrix, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, temporarily blocked President Joe Biden’s attempt to force states to provide abortions in certain emergency situations in a Tuesday ruling, according to court documents.

Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which requires hospitals that receive Medicare funding to provide emergency medical aid in an attempt to override state abortion bans. Hendrix halted the guidance and temporarily blocked the HHS from enforcing its interpretation of EMTALA.

EMTALA only overrides state abortion laws when the two are directly in conflict and, since Texas law allows abortions to save the life of a mother and the removal of ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages, HHS’s interpretation that it overrides Texas state law on abortion was incorrect, Hendrix argued. EMTALA protects both mothers and unborn children, makes no mention of abortion and doesn’t instruct doctors on how to weigh risks to the lives of mothers and babies in medical emergencies, he wrote.

The guidance “discards the requirement to consider the welfare of unborn children when determining how to stabilize a pregnant woman; it claims to preempt state laws notwithstanding explicit provisions to the contrary; and it impermissibly interferes with the practice of medicine in violation of the Medicare Act,” Hendrix wrote in his decision. “Because HHS’s Guidance is a statement of policy that establishes or changes a substantive legal standard, it likewise was subject to notice and comment requirements — unfulfilled here.”

Biden’s attempt to use EMTALA to override state abortion laws was part of a three-pronged approach to promoting abortion rights through research, messaging and litigation.

The White House did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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