Emergency room doctors cannot be forced to perform abortions in Texas

Abortion was the leading cause of death worldwide in 2022, according to the WHO. Every year, around 73 million induced abortions occur, which is equivalent to about 200,000 abortions per day. Six out of ten unwanted pregnancies end in abortion.

Joe Biden, President of the United States, wants to force emergency room doctors in Texas hospitals to perform abortions when necessary.

This issue is not new. It was in 2022 when, through the “Emergency Medical Treatment and Work” project, Biden urged all emergency doctors, ignoring their ethical and deontological position, to help women who wanted to have an abortion.

Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of the state of Texas, reacted against this project by issuing an order to prevent lawyers from giving the green light to this pro-abortion initiative.

A year later, in November 2023, Biden went to court again to repeal the federal rule. However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has now ruled that this imposition is illegal and cannot be carried out.

The Catholic News website states that lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an entity that represents the pro-life American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Christian Medical and Dental Associations, have asked this court “not to reject the ruling of the “lower court” that protects doctors in their ability to freely choose according to their conscience. Ryan Bangert, senior vice president of Strategic Initiatives at ADF, has argued in court that the Fifth Circuit has correctly ruled what the federal government should do, because “a clinic should not be an abortion facility.” Likewise, he has denounced that doctors should never be forced to break “the Hippocratic Oath” and should not have to choose between “violating their deeply held beliefs or facing harsh financial penalties and being excluded from the Medicare program” a federal insurance program of health insurance for people over 65 years of age.

73 million abortions every year in the world

To put this situation in context, it is worth clarifying that abortion was the leading cause of death worldwide in 2022, according to the WHO. Every year, around 73 million induced abortions occur, which is equivalent to about 200,000 abortions per day. Six out of ten unwanted pregnancies end in abortion.

In the United States, of the 50 states that make up the country, 14 prohibit it completely and another 12 impose restrictions in a range that covers from week 6 to 26 of gestation, as well as limitations on access to abortion services. In eight of them, the absolute or severe ban remains blocked by decisions of federal judges.

In five states, mild restrictions apply, while in 20 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington DC, abortion is legal even in the advanced stages of pregnancy without restrictions.

In Spain, as we recently commented in one of our reports, 98,316 abortions were performed last year 2022, 9% more than in 2021. These alarming figures were announced by the Ministry of Health in the State Registry of Voluntary Terminations of Pregnancy last September 2023.

Bioethical assessment

The insistence on promoting policies that pave the way for women to practice indiscriminate abortion represents the greatest attack against the human life of the unborn child, and against the dignity of women. Abortion does not bring health to any of those involved in it. In addition to ending the life of the embryo or fetus, it causes well-documented physical and psychological consequences in women who abort, especially in the case of repeated abortions. The insistence of the WHO and gynecological societies on including abortion – we remember that it was the first cause of death in 2022 – in sexual and reproductive health programs, or even attempting to recognize it as a right, constitutes an unacceptable contradiction that should continue to be reported. The situation of demographic winter in advanced countries, together with the pressure from the United Nations for the extension of abortion as a condition for granting development aid in third world countries, is an attempt against human beings and against our civilization. Reproductive health consists of supporting women, the family, the pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum process, as well as the raising of children. Protecting life in cases of unwanted pregnancies, supporting women economically, socially and psychologically, is the true attitude of progress that should be promoted instead of the current promotion of the widespread extermination that abortion entails.

Julio Tudela – Cristina Castillo – Bioethics Observatory – Life Sciences Institute – Catholic University of Valencia