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TEXAS – This past Tuesday, with the help of Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals once again undermined reproductive rights by ruling against the Biden administration's crucial guidance on the application of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) when pregnant patients face life-threatening medical emergencies. The ruling essentially prioritizes state anti-abortion laws over the fundamental right to access life-saving medical care.

The Biden administration's post-Dobbs 2022 guidance rightly emphasized that under EMTALA, doctors must provide necessary treatment, including life-saving abortions, for pregnant patients in medical emergencies, irrespective of state abortion laws. However, this recent decision from the Fifth Circuit, fueled by a lawsuit from Texas state officials and anti-abortion groups, renders the guidance unenforceable, leaving pregnant individuals in a dangerous position.

Statement from Wendy Davis, Senior Advisor at Planned Parenthood Texas Votes:

"The fact that our state leaders sued to prevent the application of federal guidelines intended to save lives in emergency situations is yet another indication that Texas' "life of the mother" exception is hollow and meaningless. By objecting to the Biden Administration's reminder to emergency rooms that they have a duty to save pregnant patients' lives, Abbott and Paxton have put Texans in imminent danger. It's a distressing setback for reproductive rights and a callous disregard for the urgent medical needs of pregnant individuals."

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV) is the nonpartisan policy, advocacy and political arm for Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas.


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