In its lawsuit, Texas claims the new guidance “forces hospitals and physicians to commit crimes and risk their license under Texas law.”
While Texas is the first to sue over the new guidance, the state likely won’t be the last. Conservative advocates tell POLITICO they are considering their own challenges.
“We’re talking to the pro-life movement about what the response should be to this perversion of the law,” said Roger Severino, who led the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights under the Trump administration and now works with the Center for Ethics and Public Policy. “These are radical new policies and they are opening up to a lawsuit and being blocked in court.”
The Biden administration argues that the policies are not new at all.
“This is meant to remind people of their federal obligations when they receive federal funds,” a senior Health and Human Services official told reporters in a Monday call about the guidance. “In no way does it mandate any particular behavior.”
Texas tried to refute this claim in its lawsuit.[The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act] the guidance is simply intended to remind hospitals of their existing obligations under federal law,” the Texas complaint states. “But she doesn’t: She includes a series of new requirements related to the provision of abortions that do not exist under federal law.”
Much to the frustration of Democratic lawmakers and advocates who have demanded a more aggressive response to the erosion of abortion rights across the country, the Biden administration has taken a cautious approach, fearful that the same Supreme Court that struck down Roe it will block any new measure it tries to impose.
However, even the most limited policies they have proposed can run into the same chainsaw.
The Texas case will go before Judge James Hendrix, appointed by President Donald Trump, and if appealed, would go to the right-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court.
This week, the Biden administration also issued guidance to the nation’s retail pharmacies warning them to stop denying patients abortion drugs, birth control or other drugs they suspect could be used off-label to disrupt a pregnancy, another policy that conservative advocates may challenge.
“Pharmacists are not vending machines. They are medical professionals who routinely screen for contraindications to protect the lives of both mothers and children,” Severino said. “The Biden administration is flipping HHS guidance on its head and trying to scare pharmacists into thinking they are required to dispense abortion-inducing drugs.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.