DOJ Challenges Idaho’s Six-Week Abortion Ban

·2 min read

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Idaho’s near-total abortion ban, arguing that the state’s law violates a federal law in which doctors must provide care during medical emergencies.

The federal law, called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), mandates that doctors provide care to patients in medical emergencies.

“Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, according to the DOJ.

Idaho’s abortion law is set to go into effect August 25, and outlaws all abortions after about six weeks gestation other than those “necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman” and pregnancies caused by incest or rape.

Idaho’s law “provides no defense for an abortion necessary to protect the health of the pregnant patient,” the DOJ said, arguing it goes against EMTALA.

The lawsuit is the first major legal action taken by the Biden administration’s DOJ since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, leaving the right to abortion up to the states.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the DOJ will work “tirelessly” to make abortion legal.

“On the day Roe and Casey were overturned, we promised that the Justice Department would work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom,” Garland said, according to the DOJ.

“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,” he added.

Planned Parenthood sued Idaho three times over various pieces of legislation pertaining to abortions, saying they were “vague” and violated the patient’s right to privacy under Idaho’s Constitution.

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