May 13, 2024

With Roe v. Wade Gone and Abortion in States’ Hands, It’s Still Federal in More Ways Than One  

With the fall of Roe in June 2022, people automatically assumed that abortion was delegated to the states and the federal government’s involvement was next to none. While this is partly true and has allowed laws like the Heartbeat Abortion Prevention Act in Florida, abortion remains a federal issue. 

Abortion’s federal nature was thrust back into the spotlight with the recent U.S. Supreme Court case on April 24 regarding EMTALA, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which is designed to require hospitals to stabilize all patients in the emergency room, regardless of their ability to pay. In July 2022, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) clarified their guidance for emergency care to include abortions, a clear workaround for taxpayer-funded abortions. 

We must give an honorable mention to taxpayer funds going to Planned Parenthood to the tune of $10.35 BILLION since 1993. According to a recent analysis by Students for Life Action (SFLAction), “Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report for 2021-2022 noted that the money keeps pouring in, with 35% of their annual budget coming from federal taxpayers, more than $670M.”  

READ: Blood Money: Our Federal Tax Dollars Support Abortion  

Now, setting that important federal issue aside and back to EMTALA. As National Review states, “a major focus of EMTALA at the time was to ensure timely care for women who showed up at emergency rooms ready to deliver a baby, hence the use of ‘Active Labor’ in the title of the law.” 

Nowhere in the law is abortion “care” mentioned. If anything, it was helping women give birth in emergency rooms not contingent on finances. Yet, abortion advocates want to use EMTALA as a federal law superseding a state’s power to uphold existing pro-life laws.  

EMTALA reads: “The provisions of this section do not preempt any State or local law requirement, except to the extent that the requirement directly conflicts with a requirement of this section.” 

The law itself goes against this abortion mindset, and more progressive SCOTUS judges like Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Sotomayor said during the hearing, “The whole purpose of preemption is to say that if the state passes a law that violates federal law, the state law is no longer effective.” 

As noted, this is the exact opposite of what EMTALA states, so it seems as if more abortion minded judges and supporters alike are confused about what EMTALA does, but more so supporters than judges. As SFLAction Government Affairs Coordinator Savanna Deretich, who was outside the EMTALA hearing, observed in a recent article, “Though I shouldn’t be surprised at this point, it reignited my concern to see pro-abortion protesters unable to articulate what the FDA Supreme Court case was about or even what they were protesting at that very moment.”  

READ: What EMTALA Hearing Taught Me About Pro-Abortion Advocates – They Don’t Know What They’re Protesting 

So, it seems that judges and abortion advocates don’t understand EMTALA, and maybe that’s the point – to take EMTALA and work it into their abortion framework, and force others to do the same. As Idaho’s Joshua Turner argues in the case: 

“The administration told this Court in the FDA case that individual doctors are never required to perform an abortion from what I could tell, but that doesn’t extend to hospitals. And so, in the case of Catholic hospitals — and there are hundreds of them treating millions of patients every year –under the administration’s reading, Catholic hospitals who faithfully adhere to the ethical and religious directives are now required to perform abortions.” 

The reason why abortion advocates liked Roe was for its federal power and money. Even with most of the power now with the states, abortion supporters are still looking for ways to keep aborting babies and having you, the taxpayer, fund them.  

READ: Joe Biden Has Never Been Less Popular – And He’s Never Talked About Abortion More