Skip to main content

State of Texas v. Becerra

Description:  The state of Texas is challenging the Biden administration’s attempt to use federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, to force emergency room doctors to perform abortions, even if doing so violates their conscience or religious beliefs.

A pregnant woman with a doctor
Tuesday, Jul 11, 2023

NEW ORLEANS – Dozens of advocacy organizations have united in support of pro-life physicians and the state of Texas in multiple friend-of-the-court briefs filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in State of Texas v. Becerra.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, alongside the state of Texas, asked a federal court to halt the Biden administration from employing the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act to force doctors to provide elective abortions in emergency rooms, which the court did in August 2022. The administration then appealed the case to the 5th Circuit.

“Emergency room physicians can, and do, treat ectopic pregnancies and other life-threatening conditions. But elective abortion is not life-saving care—it ends the life of the unborn child—and the government can’t force doctors to perform procedures that violate their conscience and religious beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “The Biden administration is needlessly, illegitimately, and illegally working to turn emergency rooms into walk-in abortion facilities. Doctors get into their line of work to save lives and care for people—and that’s exactly what they are ethically, morally, and legally required to do. We urge the 5th Circuit to uphold protections for those in the medical profession who wish to respect and save lives, not take them.”

Advancing American Freedom was joined by 25 other organizations in filing a brief. In it, they explain that “the Biden administration seeks to preempt constitutional laws enacted by states as an exercise of their legitimate interests in unborn life and maternal health…. this Court should set aside the Guidance as arbitrary and capricious because the agency failed to consider the bodily integrity of the unborn child; an interest for which EMTALA expresses a clear concern.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Harle (HAR’-lee)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

# # #


Previous News Releases

Legal Documents

Related Resources

ABOUT Denise Harle

Denise Harle serves as senior counsel on the Center for Life Team at Alliance Defending Freedom. Prior to joining ADF, Harle served as deputy solicitor general in the Office of the Florida Attorney General, where she drafted appellate briefs and presented oral arguments on behalf of the state in a wide variety of constitutional cases, including defending the constitutionality of pro-life laws. In 2017, she participated in the prestigious Supreme Court Fellow program, sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General. She clerked for Justice Ricky L. Polston on the Florida Supreme Court and worked for several years as an appellate litigator at a large firm in California. Harle earned bachelor’s degrees, summa cum laude, in psychology and interdisciplinary social science from Florida State University, a master’s degree in political science from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law. At Duke, she served as the executive editor of Law & Contemporary Problems. A member of the state bars of California, Florida, and Georgia, she is admitted to multiple federal district and appellate courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.