AP

16 more states hope to weigh in on Idaho abortion lawsuit

Aug 19, 2022, 1:56 PM | Updated: 2:01 pm

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Sixteen more states are asking to weigh in on the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Idaho over its strict abortion ban.

The Justice Department sued the Republican-led state of Idaho earlier this month, saying the abortion ban set to take effect on Aug. 25 violates a federal law requiring Medicaid-funded hospitals to provide “stabilizing treatment” to patients experiencing medical emergencies. In July, President Joe Biden’s administration told hospitals that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, requires them to provide abortion services if the life of the pregnant person is at risk.

In court documents filed Friday, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming characterized the federal government’s guidelines as “EMTALA’s grant conditions” and said they do not have the power to preempt state law.

Using the Supremacy Clause to enforce conditions of federal grants is “fundamentally, a non-starter,” the states said in court documents.

The states also contend that the Idaho abortion law does not directly conflict with the federal law because it’s possible for hospitals to comply with both, simply by turning down federal funding.

The Idaho abortion ban makes performing an abortion a felony, but it allows physicians to defend themselves in court by showing that the procedure was necessary to save a patient’s life.

State governments from across the U.S. are watching the case closely. Earlier this week, 20 states and Washington., D. C., filed a friend-of-the-court brief siding with the federal government and contending that their own residents would be put at risk should they have a medical emergency while pregnant and in Idaho. Neighboring states like Oregon and Washington also said they fear the “spillover effect” the abortion ban would create as Idaho patients with ectopic pregnancies or other emergencies are forced to seek out-of-state care.

Coalitions of major medical associations including the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and others have also filed briefs in the case, saying Idaho’s law is too vague and difficult to medically interpret, and that it would force health care providers to choose between violating state law and being charged with a crime, or violating federal law and facing fines and the loss of federal funding.

The medical organizations also say the law puts pregnant people in grave danger by limiting or delaying the type of care they can obtain in emergencies.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill is scheduled to hear arguments Monday morning on whether the law should be temporarily stopped from taking effect while the lawsuit moves forward in court.

Either way, most abortions are now illegal in Idaho. A law criminalizing performing or assisting in an abortion after about six weeks’ gestation officially went into effect on Friday. The law includes exceptions for abortions performed in medical emergencies or in cases of rape or incest — as long as the pregnant person provides the physician with a copy of a law enforcement report, which generally takes weeks or months to obtain in Idaho.

The total abortion ban will supersede the existing ban if it is allowed to go into effect on Thursday.

Still, abortions have effectively been banned in the state since Aug. 12, when the Idaho Supreme Court said another law allowing potential relatives of an embryo or fetus to sue abortion providers for at least $20,000 could take effect. Under that law, a rapist would be barred from suing, but a rapist’s family members would be allowed to sue.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

2 days ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

2 days ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

2 days ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

3 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

5 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

16 more states hope to weigh in on Idaho abortion lawsuit