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Supreme Court rules to allow emergency abortions in Idaho

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing.
Supreme Court
Posted at 10:30 AM, Jun 27, 2024

The Supreme Court officially ruled on Thursday to allow emergency abortions in Idaho.

The 6-3 decision in Moyle v. United States was expected after a document foreshadowing the opinion was briefly posted to the Supreme Court's website on Wednesday.

With its decision, the high court dismissed Idaho's appeal of a lower court's decision that allowed emergency abortions to protect the health of a mother.

The law in question states that the procedure is only allowed if "necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman." There is an exception for victims of rape and incest, but only in the first trimester.

The Biden administration challenged the law, saying it conflicts with federal regulations — specifically the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA. It requires emergency rooms to treat patients in active labor and provide stabilizing care. The Biden administration argued that includes abortion if necessary.

The Supreme Court stated that the plaintiffs in the case lacked standing, and that the case was premature when it made its way to the high court.

The case will be sent back to the lower courts, and the state of Idaho will be required to continue to conduct certain types of abortions as the case moves its way through the court system.

Following the decision, President Joe Biden spoke out in a statement.

"Today’s Supreme Court order ensures that women in Idaho can access the emergency medical care they need while this case returns to the lower courts. No woman should be denied care, made to wait until she’s near death, or forced to flee her home state just to receive the health care she needs. This should never happen in America. Yet, this is exactly what is happening in states across the country since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade," said the president.

President Biden called out Republican officials for their "extreme and dangerous agenda to ban abortion nationwide, and put women’s health and lives at risk."

"The stakes could not be higher and the contrast could not be clearer. My Administration is committed to defending reproductive freedom and maintains our long-standing position that women have the right to access the emergency medical care they need," he said.

President Biden said his administration will continue "to fight to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law."

Attorney General Merrick Garland also spoke out after the high court's decision.

“The Justice Department filed this lawsuit because the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, guarantees essential emergency care to all Americans, no matter which state they live in. If a patient comes into the emergency room with a medical emergency seriously jeopardizing the patient’s life or health, EMTALA requires hospitals to offer the treatment necessary to stabilize that patient — including pregnancy termination, if that is the treatment required to save a woman’s life or prevent serious harm to her health," Garland said in a statement. "Today’s order means that, while we continue to litigate our case, women in Idaho will once again have access to the emergency care guaranteed to them under federal law. The Justice Department will continue to use every available tool to ensure that women in every state have access to that care.”

The Supreme Court has yet to rule on a number of significant cases, including some focused on social media, Jan. 6 and former President Donald Trump’s immunity.

While the high court typically releases its opinions by the end of June, the updated calendar shows some opinions may be released July 1.