Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a news conference after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in favor of President Joe Biden’s proposal to repeal Trump-era immigration policies that forced migrants to stay in Mexico pending U.S. hearings on their asylum claims. in Washington. United States, April 26, 2022
Elisabeth Franz | Reuters
Texas on Thursday asked a federal court to block the Biden administration’s demand that doctors and hospitals perform emergency abortions.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, argued that federal law does not give the right to have an abortion.
The lawsuit comes three days after Health and Human Services Minister Xavier Becerra warned hospitals and doctors that they required for emergency abortions when treatment is needed to protect the life of a pregnant woman. Becerra said hospitals and doctors who refuse to comply could be terminated with Medicare providers and subject to financial sanctions.
Becerra said the Emergency Medical Care and Active Labor Act takes precedence over state laws that limit access to emergency abortions. But Paxton said the law does not require any specific appeal, arguing that the HHS requirement is illegal, unconstitutional and unenforceable.
Abortion became illegal in Texas under a 1925 law after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, who has defended access to procedure as a constitutional right for nearly 50 years. The ban is currently enforced through fines and lawsuits.
Texas has another law enacted in 2021 that will go into effect in the coming weeks and makes abortion a felony, punishable by up to life in prison. The ban makes an exception if a licensed physician determines that the woman is facing a life-threatening physical condition.
Last week, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing HHS to take action to protect access to abortion. Becerra’s warning that doctors and hospitals are required to perform emergency abortions is the most concrete step the administration has taken so far to protect access to the procedure.
At least nine states have banned abortion following a Supreme Court ruling. Several other states tried to ban the procedure, but their laws were blocked by state courts.
While most state abortion bans make exceptions when a woman’s life is in danger, US health officials fear cautious doctors could wait too long to treat ectopic pregnancies and miscarriage complications while waiting for legal guidance.