- A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration from enforcing new abortion guidance.
- The state requires hospitals to provide emergency abortions regardless of state bans on the procedure.
- Judge James Hendrix declined to enjoin the guidance nationwide.
Late on Tuesday, a federal court in Texas barred the Biden administration from enforcing new instructions. That would have required hospitals in the Republican-led state to offer women with emergency abortions. Regardless of local restrictions on the practise.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ instruction was unlawful. And went beyond the wording of a relevant federal law, according to U.S. District Judge James Wesley Hendrix in Lubbock, who concurred with Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Instead of blocking HHS from applying the guidance and its interpretation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act in Texas and against two anti-abortion physician groups, the judge decided not to enjoin them nationwide.
Requests for comment from HHS and Paxton did not immediately receive a response.
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Hendrix made her decision before another court is due to decide on Wednesday over whether the nearly entire ban in Idaho that the U.S. Department of Justice is challenging is in conflict with the identical federal statute at issue in Texas’s case.
After the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which recognised a universal right for women to have abortions, was overruled on June 24, Democratic President Joe Biden signed an executive order in July aiming to make it easier to access services to end pregnancies.
After the state’s top court granted Paxton’s request on July 2 to allow a nearly century-old abortion ban to go into effect, abortion services were discontinued in Texas.
In his ruling, Hendrix, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, said the guidance went too far in extending that 1986 federal law, which seeks to ensure hospitals provide emergency medical care for the poor and uninsured.
He said, “That instruction goes considerably beyond the text of EMTALA, which protects both mothers and unborn children, is silent on abortion, and preempts state law only in cases when the two directly conflict.
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