US DOJ files suit to preserve medically necessary abortions in Idaho

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the state of Idaho for attempting to ban medically necessary abortions. The DOJ claims that Idaho’s abortion ban conflicts with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

EMTALA requires hospitals that receive Medicare funding to provide necessary treatment, including abortions, to patients experiencing a medical emergency. Idaho’s ban would prevent all abortions, even when a pregnant person experiences a life-threatening medical condition. Therefore, in the DOJ’s view, Idaho’s prohibition of abortions conflicts with EMTALA. In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland stated:

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.

Tuesday’s lawsuit is the first to be filed by the DOJ since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June.