The latest report of monthly abortions has been released by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the results are very interesting. The report shows that Texas’ abortion laws continue to save unborn babies’ lives from the tragedy of abortion while saving pregnant women’s lives in rare and tragic cases when pregnancy endangers the mother’s life. As you may know, Texas has a protective abortion law, the Human Life Protection Act, with an exception to allow abortions to save women’s lives, even when their death is not imminent.

Latest Texas HHSC Report

The July 1st report shows a consistent trend. For the first 20 months after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs — July 2022 through February 2024 — reported elective abortions have plummeted from thousands each month to zero. At the same time, doctors reported performing 97 medically necessary abortions, all in hospitals.

The monthly average of reported abortions for medical necessity (to protect the life or health of the woman) after Dobbs is 4.8. That number is comparable to the monthly average before Dobbs (January 2022 through May 2022), which is 2.6.

No doctor has been prosecuted by a district attorney, sanctioned by the Texas Medical Board, or sued by the Attorney General. No pregnant woman has lost her life because of the provisions of Texas’ abortion laws, even with more than 360,000 live births in Texas each year.

Claims by critics and naysayers that the Texas abortion law is causing women to die are completely baseless.

Legal Challenges

The law has withstood several legal challenges. In January, the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals determined in Texas v. Becerra that our law does not conflict with the Emergency Medical Treatment Labor Act, a federal law known as EMTALA. That law requires hospitals to provide emergency abortions in certain cases. In May, the Texas Supreme Court upheld the Human Life Protection Act in Texas v. Zurawski, finding that the law is both constitutional and clear in response to a challenge from the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR). Doctors can use “reasonable medical judgment,” an objective standard used through medical practice of all kinds, to know when to legally perform abortions to save women’s lives or health. In December 2023, the Texas Supreme Court upheld that standard in a challenge, also brought by the CRR who argued that subjective judgment of a single doctor that an abortion is medically necessary should suffice. The case called In re Texas involved a former Planned Parenthood doctor and a woman with an unborn baby diagnosed with Trisomy 18.

Biden/Harris Administration

But the Biden/Harris Administration is mounting another challenge. They have appealed the 5th Circuit’s ruling to the United States Supreme Court, claiming that our law conflicts with EMTALA by preventing doctors at hospitals from performing emergency abortions required by EMTALA, according to the Administration’s novel interpretation, but not allowed in the exception in the Human Life Protection Act. We think that the Administration is wrong, and we are confident the Court will come to the same conclusion. But that will be many months from now. Stay tuned.

Joe Pojman, Ph.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life.

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