The Biden administration filed a lawsuit against Idaho on Tuesday for restricting access to abortion to patients who need life-saving medical treatment, the Justice Department’s first challenge since the Supreme Court. overturned Roe v. Wade this summer.
According to the Justice Department, Idaho’s near-total abortion ban, which will take effect later this month, will make it nearly impossible to do. for patients who need an abortion in emergency medical situations, such as an ectopic pregnancy or other complications, because of potentially life-saving treatment.
“In the days since Dobbs’ decision, there have been numerous reports of delays or denials for pregnant women experiencing medical emergencies,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. Tuesday’s press conference. “We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the medical care they are entitled to.”
The activation law, passed in 2020, would make the provision of abortion services a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The ban has exceptions for cases of rape or incest if reported to law enforcement or to prevent the death of a pregnant person.
The Justice Department is suing under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which states that hospitals that receive Medicare funds “must provide medical treatment necessary to stabilize the condition before transferring or leaving the hospital.” hospital,” according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday.
“Idaho law will consider physicians to comply with EMTALA requirements to provide stable treatment, even if the physician determines that abortion is medically necessary treatment to prevent serious risks health or even death of the patient,” the DOJ said.
Abortion providers in Idaho have also challenged the state’s activation law. The state Supreme Court will hear the case on Wednesday.
DOJ last month create a task force aims to defend abortion struggles following a Supreme Court decision in Dobbs that overturned Roe v. Wade and rescinded federal abortion rights.
Garland said that the case “has nothing to do with circling” the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs.
“The Supreme Court says each state can make its own decisions about abortion, but so can the federal government,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “There is nothing the Supreme Court has said to say that statutes passed by Congress, such as EMTALA, are invalid in any way. It’s completely the opposite. The Supreme Court leaves it to the representatives of the people. EMTALA is a decision of the United States Congress. The supremacy clause is a decision made in the US Constitution. Federal law nullifies direct conflicting state laws”.
This story has been updated with additional details.