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Texas sued the Biden administration over clarifying guidance

WASHINGTON — Yesterday, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Biden administration’s 2022 guidance regarding the application of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) to pregnant patients experiencing a medical emergency. In July 2022, after the Dobbs decision, the administration issued guidance clarifying that under EMTALA, if a pregnant patient has a medical emergency and an abortion is the necessary stabilizing treatment for that patient, the physician must provide an abortion regardless of state abortion bans or restrictions.

Following a lawsuit brought by Texas state officials and anti-abortion groups, a federal district court in Texas preliminarily enjoined the guidance in August 2022 and then entered a permanent judgment in January 2023. The decision from the Fifth Circuit means the guidance remains unenforceable. However, EMTALA remains federal law and requires most hospitals to provide emergency medical care, including care related to pregnancy.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: 

“It has never been clearer that we should take anti-abortion lawmakers and their allies at their word: they want to ban abortion entirely — even in situations where abortion is life-saving or stabilizing care. While they continue their quest for power and control over people’s bodies, Planned Parenthood will fight back every step of the way. Patients and doctors should be making these sensitive and life-changing decisions — not agenda-driven politicians with no medical expertise.” 

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With nearly 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.