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Health Law Highlights

Biden Administration Tells Doctors They Must Provide Emergency Abortions

Summary of article from AP News, by Amanda Seitz, Christine Fernando:

In response to a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Biden administration has directed emergency room doctors to perform emergency abortions when necessary to save a pregnant woman’s health, emphasizing compliance with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). This follows the Supreme Court’s failure to clarify whether state abortion bans override this federal law. The administration’s guidance aims to address reports of pregnant women being denied emergency care due to legal uncertainties. Enforcement will resume in Idaho, but remains on hold in Texas due to ongoing legal challenges. Additionally, the administration is enhancing resources for patients to file complaints against hospitals that fail to provide required emergency care.

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Health Law Highlights

What’s it to You? Justice Scalia’s 41-Year-Old Gatekeeping Question on “Standing” Influences Court to Uphold FDA’s Regulation of Mifepristone

Summary of article from Akerman LLP, by Noam Fischman, Danielle Gordet:

On June 13, 2024, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that doctors and medical associations did not have standing to challenge the FDA’s approvals of mifepristone, a drug used for terminating pregnancies. The court found that the plaintiffs’ objections to abortion and the FDA’s regulation of mifepristone did not suffice to establish Article III standing for the lawsuit. The decision overturns a previous ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which held that the plaintiffs had standing and were likely to win. The Court rejected several arguments from the plaintiffs, including claims of potential moral objections and economic injuries. The ruling suggests that some legal issues may not have a judicial resolution, and instead should be addressed by the legislative branch.

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Health Law Highlights

Texas Supreme Court Declines Opportunity to Hear Personhood Case

Summary of article from Epstein Becker Green, by Erin Sutton:

The Texas Supreme Court has declined to review the case Antoun v. Antoun, which sought to establish whether frozen embryos are considered persons or property under Texas law. The case arose after a divorce trial awarded the couple’s frozen embryos to the husband, based on their in vitro fertilization (IVF) consent form. The wife argued that under Texas’s total abortion ban, the embryos should be treated as human beings, not property, which would necessitate a different standard for determining “custody”. Despite this, the Court denied the review without comment. The decision may influence future legislation and court decisions regarding the personhood status of embryos, particularly in states with policies recognizing embryos as “unborn children”.