WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Law Enforcement officers stand at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on July 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. Activists with NextGen America placed chrysanthemums in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to symbolize the number of people the group believes will die as a result of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==

The US Department of Health and Human Services has ordered hospitals to perform abortions in medical emergencies. In a new (Monday local time) the ministry refers to the Federal Emergency Act EMTALA, which has been in force since 1986.

This takes precedence over state abortion laws. Protecting patients and providers is “top priority,” said Minister Xavier Becerra, and “We will make sure women get the life-saving care they need.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 abortion landmark ruling “Roe v. Wade” in late June, several doctors and hospitals have said they had problems with the different legal positions. Specifically, they are finding it difficult to bring state laws restricting abortion into line with the federal emergency law.

The Health Department’s response is the latest by the Biden administration following the Supreme Court’s decision to let states decide abortion rights. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday directing authorities to protect access to abortion and patient privacy.