Biden DOJ Sues Idaho Over "Near-Total Ban" On Abortion
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Idaho on Tuesday, challenging the state's near-total abortion ban which will take effect on August 25.
The lawsuit - which marks the DOJ's 1st challenge since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer, argues that Idaho's law would violate the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which says that hospitals receiving Medicare funds "must provide medical treatment necessary to stabilize that condition before transferring or discharging the patient," according to Tuesday's filing.
"The Idaho law would make it a criminal offense for doctors to comply with EMTALA's requirement to provide stabilizing treatment, even where a doctor determines that abortion is the medical treatment necessary to prevent a patient from suffering severe health risks or even death," it continues.
Idaho's law does allow for exceptions for rape or incest which has been reported to police prior to the abortion, and the state will not prosecute physicians who perform abortions in "good faith medical judgement and based on the facts known" to save a woman's life, Just the News reports.
The DOJ, however, decries the law as a "near-total ban" in their filing.
"Even in dire situations that might qualify for the Idaho law’s limited 'necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman' affirmative defense, some providers could withhold care based on a well-founded fear of criminal prosecution."
According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, "If a patient comes into the emergency room with a medical emergency jeopardizing the patient’s life or health, hospitals must provide the treatment necessary to stabilize that patient," adding "This includes abortion, and that is the necessary treatment."
Garland claims that the Idaho lawsuit has "nothing to do with going around" the Supreme Court's recent decision.
"The Supreme Court said that each state can make its own decisions with respect to abortion, but so too can the federal government," he said. "Nothing that the Supreme Court said, said that the statutes passed by Congress, such as EMTALA are in any way invalid. It's quite the opposite. The Supreme Court left it to the people's representatives. EMTALA was a decision made by the Congress of the United States. The supremacy clause is a decision made in the Constitution of the United States. Federal law invalidates state laws that are in direct contradiction."
Last month the DOJ created a task force aimed at protecting abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to terminate the federal right to abortion.