2 states sue HHS, aim to divorce from WHO's authority

Texas and Oklahoma are suing HHS for granting the World Health Organization the authority to determine and define what constitutes a public health emergency in the U.S. 

The lawsuit — filed Jan. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas — takes aim at a provision enacted during the Obama administration that granted the global agency the authority to invoke emergency health powers for domestic purposes, which the plaintiffs claim infringes on "U.S. and state sovereignty."

In July, 15 states filed a petition asking HHS to delete the rule. The petition was denied by the Biden administration in October. 

"The Biden administration’s defense of granting the WHO the authority to determine when the federal government ought to violate the rights of our citizens is alarming to say the least, and it must not be allowed to stand," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in Jan. 18 news release. "Absolutely no foreign power should have the ability to exert police powers over Texas or any other state, and that is especially true for a foreign entity with as troubled of a history as the WHO."

Editor's note: Becker's has reached out to HHS and will update the report as more information becomes available. 

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