Appeals court rules against DOJ guidance on 'emergency abortions'

By Jen Krausz on
 January 3, 2024

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Tuesday that the federal government could not force Texas hospitals to perform abortions in "emergency" situations, such as when the mother's life is at risk.

Circuit Judge Kurt Engelhardt, who wrote for the majority, said 1986's Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act "does not provide an unqualified right for the pregnant mother to abort her child."

The ruling affirmed an earlier decision that pointed out the 1986 law didn't say what to do when there was a conflict between the life of the unborn child and the life of the mother -- both were equally protected.

Texas bans most abortions in the state and has narrow exceptions related to the life of the mother. Biden was hoping his misguided "guidance" would widen those exceptions.

While the law "allows" emergency abortions, it does not mandate or require them as the DOJ's guidance attempted to do. The DOJ guidance also completely ignored treatment for the unborn baby.

The ruling is not preventing Texas hospitals from performing abortions if they deem them medically necessary in emergency situation, it just isn't creating women's "rights" to have abortions under this scenario.