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(Live Action) — In draft guidelines released Friday, the Texas Medical Board gave a broad definition for what constitutes a medical emergency in cases in which abortion would be allowed under state law. The draft language upset abortion activists, who were hoping for a loophole that would increase the likelihood of getting an abortion in the state.

The move comes after married couple Steve and Amy Bresnen petitioned the board to clarify the state’s language that abortions are allowed when the mother’s life is determined to be in danger. The Bresnens wanted “clear guidance” when this would be applicable, and even suggested that the pregnant woman’s death “need not be imminent” in order for the abortion to be legal.

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According to The Texas Tribune, the board’s proposed guidelines define “medical emergency” as “a life threatening condition aggravated by, caused by or arising from a pregnancy that is certified by a physician [which] places the woman in danger of death or a serious impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

“Putting all the definitions in one place, that’s helpful. But it doesn’t tell you any more about what you should do or not do,” Steve Bresnen said after the draft language was released, adding that he was “very disappointed” with the guidelines.

Though the Bresnens and others are arguing that there are instances in which an abortion is necessary to save the mother’s life, an induced abortion which intentionally kills a preborn child is not medically necessary. During instances in which the mother’s life is truly in danger, the child may be delivered prematurely, even if that child is not expected to survive the delivery. This is not considered an induced abortion because the first aim is to save the mother’s life – not the direct and intentional death of the child.

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Several pro-life groups also weighed in on the guidelines, with Rebecca Weaver, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, noting that a list of conditions which might qualify for an abortion would only muddy the waters. Weaver praised the board for deciding to stick to a broad definition. “While our law is clear, implementation has proven problematic since Texas’ pre-Roe laws retook effect after the Dobbs decision in 2022,” she said. “This confusion is unnecessary, and we are pleased you have chosen to help clear the confusion.”

There will now be 30 days for the public to give comment before the board finalizes its guidelines.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action.