Biden Administration Sues Idaho Over Abortion Restrictions

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration sued Idaho on Tuesday over a strict state abortion law coming into effect this month that the Justice Department said would prevent emergency room doctors from performing the abortions needed. needed to stabilize the health of women facing medical emergencies.

Lawsuitannounced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, is the first Biden administration to file a defense of access to abortion since Judgment of the Supreme Court at the end of June, that ended the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Since then, Mr. Garland noted at a press conference on Tuesday, “there have been numerous reports of delays and refusals to treat pregnant women with emergencies.” The lawsuit argues that federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, prohibits states from imposing restrictions that prevent emergency room doctors from treating those women.

“If a patient comes to the emergency room with an emergency that endangers the patient’s life or health, the hospital must provide the necessary treatment to stabilize the patient,” Mr. Garland said. “This includes abortion when it’s necessary treatment.”

The lawsuit goes like voters in Kansas went to the polls to decide whether to overturn ruling in 2019 by the state Supreme Court interpreting the state’s Constitution as protecting the right to abortion. The ballot initiative is the first referendum on abortion rights since a decision by the US Supreme Court in late June.

Last month, after the federal Department of Health and Human Services released guidance to ensure access to abortion in certain emergency situations at hospitals that receive Medicare funding, the Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas file a lawsuit against the rules.

The new case raises similar legal questions about the extent to which federal law protects emergency room physicians who decide abortion is necessary to treat dangerous pregnancy complications that are not directly threatening. to the patient’s life. This time, however, the federal government is the plaintiff, not the defendant.

The Justice Department is also seeking an injunction barring Idaho from enforcing its strict abortion laws on emergency room doctors, nurses, and lab technicians who assist with abortions in emergency situations. acute – including women facing conditions such as an ectopic pregnancy, severe preeclampsia, or a pregnancy with a complication that threatens infection or septic bleeding.

Idaho’s near-total abortion ban contains a trigger that allows it to go into effect shortly after any U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturns abortion rights precedent Roe v. Wade. Because the court made such a ruling earlier this summer, the Idaho law will go into effect in about three weeks.

The law prohibits abortion unless it is necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life – but not to protect her health – or in cases of rape or incest that have been reported to previous authorities there.

It allows law enforcement officials to arrest and prosecute a doctor whenever an abortion is performed, regardless of the circumstances; It is up to the physician to prove that one of the narrow exceptions to the injunction applies is up to the physician, as the defense at trial. As a result, critics of the law say that doctors would be reluctant to perform abortions under any circumstances.

The Justice Department lawsuit seeks a statement from the court that Idaho’s law is invalid if applied to situations covered by the U.S. Constitution’s Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. federal law is superior to the law of the state in which the two parties are in conflict.

“Even in dire situations that might qualify for the ‘necessary to prevent the death of a pregnant woman’ limitation, some providers may deny care. based on a well-founded fear of criminal prosecution,” the department’s complaint said.

It continued: “As a result, Idaho’s abortion law will prevent physicians from performing abortions even if the physician determines that an abortion is a medically necessary treatment to prevent serious risks. important to the patient’s well-being and even in the case of refusal of care can result in maternal death. patient.”

Appearing with Mr Garland, Vanita Gupta, deputy attorney general and head of the Justice Department’s reproductive rights task force, said her team had studied the “rapidly changing landscape”. on state legal restrictions on abortion since the Supreme Court. Judgment of the Court. She suggests that more lawsuits are likely to follow.

“We know these are times of worry and uncertainty for pregnant women and their carers,” she said. “The Department of Justice, through the operation of its task force, is committed to doing everything possible to ensure continued legal access to reproductive services.”

Leave a Comment