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Texas v. Becerra (N.D. Tex., Aug. 23, 2022): A federal court in Texas temporarily blocked enforcement, in Texas, of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) guidance asserting that, regardless of state law, hospital emergency departments may be required to perform abortion procedures under certain circumstances pursuant to the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). EMTALA requires hospitals with emergency departments that receive Medicare funding to provide emergency stabilizing care, which may include abortion services if necessary to stabilize a pregnant individual’s emergent medical condition. Texas challenged the guidance, arguing that it infringed on state rights. In preliminarily blocking the guidance in Texas, the court concluded that (1) HHS likely exceeded its statutory authority in promulgating the guidance, which impermissibly construed EMTALA; and (2) under the Medicare Act, HHS was required to hold a notice-and-comment period before issuing the guidance. Read the full decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – September 15, 2022.

View all cases under “Source & Scope of Public Health Legal Powers.”