Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act: Doctors must offer abortion if mom’s life at risk, Biden admin says, citing EMTALA

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration told hospitals Monday they “must” provide abortion services if the mother’s life is at risk, and said the federal law on emergency treatment guidelines anticipates state laws in jurisdictions that now invariably conduct the procedure after the ban The Supreme Court’s decision to end a constitutional right to abortion.

The Department of Health and Human Services cites medical facility requirements in the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The law requires medical facilities to determine whether a person seeking treatment may be in labor or have a health emergency — or could become an emergency — and provide treatment.

“If a physician believes that a pregnant patient presenting to an emergency department has an EMTALA medical emergency and that abortion is the stabilizing treatment needed to resolve that condition, the physician must provide that treatment” , says the agency ‘s guidelines . “When a state law prohibits abortion and does not contain an exception for the life of the pregnant person — or the exception narrows the definition of emergency medical conditions set by EMTALA — that state law is preemptive.”

The department said emergency conditions include “ectopic pregnancy, complications of pregnancy loss, or emerging hypertensive disorder such as preeclampsia with severe features.”

“It is critical that providers understand that the professional and legal duty of a physician or other qualified health care professional to provide stabilizing medical care to a patient presenting to the emergency department who is identified as having a medical emergency , forestalls any directly conflicting state law or mandate that might otherwise prohibit such treatment,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote in a letter to healthcare providers.

The department says its guidelines do not reflect new guidelines, but merely remind physicians and providers of their existing obligations under federal law.

“By federal law, emergency providers are required to provide stabilizing care to someone with a medical emergency, including abortion care if needed, regardless of the state in which they live,” said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service . “CMS will do everything within our authority to ensure patients receive the care they need.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://6abc.com/abortion-laws-2022-ban-emergency-medical-treatment-and-labor-act-emtala/12043825/ Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act: Doctors must offer abortion if mom’s life at risk, Biden admin says, citing EMTALA

Alley Einstein

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