The Biden administration has sued Idaho to prevent the state’s abortion “trigger law” from going into effect, arguing that it is in violation of federal regulations requiring hospitals to provide necessary care to patients before releasing them.
At a press conference this week, the attorney general described the lawsuit, stating that federal law preempts state laws mandating near-total abortion limitations.
“We promised on the day that Roe and Casey were overturned that the Department of Justice would work tirelessly to protect and promote reproductive rights,” Garland said. “That is what we are doing now, and it will be what we do in the future.”
“We will utilize every tool at our disposal to guarantee that pregnant women receive the emergency medical care that they are entitled to under federal law,” he continued.
According to the Department of Justice, Medicare-funded hospitals are obligated to give “appropriate stabilizing treatment” to patients who suffer from a “medical emergency,” under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. According to the lawsuit, the government considers “emergency medical conditions” to include both life-threatening dangers and those that place a patient’s health in danger of significant damage or impairment of bodily functions or serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.”
The Department of Justice claims that Idaho’s proposed legislation, which is scheduled to go into effect in August, would “make it a crime to comply with EMTALA’s requirement to give stabilizing treatment, even if a physician believes that abortion is the only medical treatment required to prevent a patient from suffering debilitating health risks or even death.”
Ectopic pregnancy, severe preeclampsia, or a pregnancy problem threatening septic infection or hemorrhage are examples of these situations.
“The suit seeks to invalidate the state’s criminal ban on abortion services for individuals who are experiencing medical emergencies,” Garland added.
The attorney general denounced the Idaho bill’s few medical exemptions as “extremely restricted,” and he said that if a doctor performed an abortion to save a woman’s life, the law “would subject doctors to arrest and criminal prosecution.”
Garland is petitioning the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop Idaho’s legislation from going into effect.