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ACOG Statement on Court Decisions Regarding EMTALA
Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement from Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, MD, FACOG, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) about the recent U.S. District Court actions in United States of America v. Idaho and Texas v. Becerra:
“We are dismayed by this week’s decision in Texas, but we are hopeful that the court’s decision in Idaho will be the prevailing view of the courts on the issue of the federal preemption of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) over state bans on abortion. In our amicus briefs in both Idaho and Texas, we made clear that abortion care can be a critical medical intervention for pregnant people facing serious pregnancy complications. Blocking physicians from being able to provide essential medical care to people in need will cost lives. No clinician—medical experts backed by years of training, experience, and commitment to patients—should have to choose between following state law and saving patient lives.
“State-based variation in the application of EMTALA will continue to increase the gaps in access to care across the country and to widen existing health inequities. ACOG is gratified that for now, patients in Idaho experiencing medical crises associated with pregnancy complications will be able to access the care they need, but we mourn for those in Texas who may not be so lucky. We fear for our members in Texas and other states, whose futures may be compromised by the imposition of criminal penalties and lengthy, expensive lawsuits as a result of providing patients with evidence-based, lifesaving care. ACOG will continue to advocate at every level to protect people experiencing medical crises associated with pregnancy complications and for the ability of clinicians to provide the emergency care their patients need.
“ACOG steadfastly opposes all bans on abortion and all legislative interference into the provision of evidence-based care by trained medical professionals. Abortion bans like those in Idaho and Tennessee, which contain no exceptions at all and instead shift the burden of proof to clinicians faced with complex and nuanced medical questions, are unacceptable. Laws like those in Texas, which include draconian penalties for clinicians providing compassionate care in life- and health-threatening circumstances, reflect a dangerous trend of criminalizing the practice of evidence-based medicine. Both doctors and patients will continue to pay the price.”
Read more from ACOG about medical emergency exceptions in abortion bans and restrictions.