ER Docs in Abortion Bind; Feds Say US Law Tops States

July 13, 2022

Bloomberg News

All states allow doctors to terminate a pregnancy if the mother’s life is at risk, but questions remain about what constitutes a life-or-death situation.

“To this point I don’t know that there has been this degree of tension between what is required of us by the federal law and what potentially could be considered illegal in a state,” said Diana Nordlund, an attorney and emergency room physician in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Those concerns were echoed in a statement from Laura Wooster, senior vice president for advocacy and practice affairs at the American College of Emergency Physicians.

“While this HHS guidance is a welcome step, a significant amount of uncertainty remains for emergency physicians, particularly around the extent to which EMTALA protects emergency physicians’ duty to deliver lifesaving care to their patients,” Wooster said.

ACEP is creating a “multidisciplinary team of medical experts to examine the wide range of clinical and legal implications that the Dobbs decision and any supporting guidance could have on emergency medicine, patient care and safety,” she added.

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