Department of Justice Sues Idaho over Abortion Restrictions

The Biden administration filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the state of Idaho for restricting abortion access for patients who need lifesaving medical treatment. This is the first Justice Department challenge since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer.

The suit challenges Idaho Code § 18-622 (§ 18-622), which imposes a near-total ban on abortion and is set to go into effect on August 25. This code would make it almost impossible for patients who need an abortion in an emergency medical situation, including ectopic pregnancy,  to receive potentially lifesaving treatment.

Federal prosecutors believe Idaho’s law would force doctors to violate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a federal law that requires anyone coming to a medical facility for urgent health care needs to be treated.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated, “We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law. And we will closely scrutinize state abortion laws to ensure that they comply with federal law.” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra reiterated a point upon which the Biden Administration has been clear: “Patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live.”


US Department of Justice 8/2/2022; CNN 8/2/2022; NPR 8/2/2022

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