Merrick Garland Strikes Back As DOJ Sues Idaho Over Abortion Ban


The Department of Justice has announced that they are suing Idaho over their near-total abortion ban.

The Justice Department announced in a statement:

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit to protect the rights of patients to access emergency medical care guaranteed by federal law. The suit challenges Idaho Code § 18-622 (§ 18-622), which is set to go into effect on Aug. 25 and imposes a near-total ban on abortion.

The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that § 18-622 conflicts with, and is preempted by, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) in situations where an abortion is necessary stabilizing treatment for an emergency medical condition. The United States also seeks an order permanently enjoining the Idaho law to the extent it conflicts with EMTALA.

….

As explained in the complaint, once § 18-622 enters into effect in Idaho, a prosecutor can indict, arrest and prosecute a physician merely by showing that an abortion has been performed, without regard to the circumstances. A physician who provides an abortion in Idaho can ultimately avoid criminal liability only by establishing as an affirmative defense that “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman” or that, before performing the abortion, the pregnant patient (or, in some circumstances, their parent or guardian) reported an “act of rape or incest” against the patient to a specified agency and provided a copy of the report to the physician. The law provides no defense for an abortion necessary to protect the health of the pregnant patient. 

Idaho’s criminal prohibition of all abortions, subject only to the statute’s two limited affirmative defenses, directly conflicts with EMTALA and stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of EMTALA’s federal objectives of providing stabilizing care and treatment to anyone who needs it.

Justice Department Keeps Their Promise To Protect The Lives Of Women

Attorney General Garland said in a statement, “On the day Roe and Casey were overturned, we promised that the Justice Department would work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom. That is what we are doing, and that is what we will continue to do. 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.”

President Biden has vowed to protect women and make sure that they can access health and life-saving reproductive healthcare. Biden’s HHS ordered every single hospital that accepts government funding to provide access to reproductive care if the health or life of the mother was in jeopardy. 

Merrick Garland in enforcing the order, and the result is that Idaho has been sued.



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