(July 13, 2023 – New Orleans, Louisiana) Thomas More Society attorneys have filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in a lawsuit seeking to block a Biden Administration directive that forces doctors to perform elective abortions in emergency rooms. The filing, made July 7, 2023, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, is on behalf of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and seven national Catholic organizations, supporting the State of Texas in trying to block United States Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra from enforcing an illegitimate interpretation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
This law, frequently known as EMTALA, was flagrantly reinterpreted under guidelines issued by Becerra’s department in June 2022. These guidelines have twisted the law’s original intent, and now require medical personnel to provide elective abortions in emergency rooms.
Tyler Brooks, Thomas More Society Senior Counsel, explained the key problems with Becerra’s guidelines.
“Trying to force a physician to take the life of an unborn child under a law that is expressly designed to save lives is not only contradictory, but also ludicrous,” stated Brooks. “An elective abortion is an intentional choice to kill a preborn baby and emergency medical treatment is intended to preserve life. This act, as interpreted by the Biden Administration, violates the conscience rights of medical personnel who believe that abortion is immoral. It is a blatant violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
EMTALA requires Medicare-participating hospitals to provide medical screening examinations to every individual, including women in labor, their unborn children, and newly born infants, when they present for care to dedicated emergency departments. This includes labor and delivery departments, or other locations on the hospital campus. The Becerra-driven guidelines have now redefined abortion as critical care for pregnant women, which Thomas More Society attorneys say is a complete misrepresentation of the law’s intent. In fact, as drafted, EMTALA protects the lives of both mother and unborn child.
Brooks noted that there has been a plethora of friend-of-the-court briefs filed with the federal appeals court in support of the State of Texas.
“This is a no brainer here,” remarked Brooks. “This is not about ectopic pregnancy or any situation where a mother’s life is in danger. This is about elective abortion. This is about attempting to force live-saving emergency medical practitioners to take lives in a non-emergency situation. The only life at risk in this scenario is that of the preborn child.”
Read the Brief of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance, Catholic Medical Association, Catholic Benefits Association, Catholic Bar Association, Christ Medicus Foundation, and the National Association of Catholic Nurses-U.S.A. as Amici Curiae in support of appellees and affirmance, filed by the Thomas More Society on July 7, 2023, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in State of Texas, et al. v. Xavier Becerra, et al. here.