The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Supreme Court Declines to Protect Pregnant People’s Right to Emergency Care

The Supreme Court issued a ruling today in Idaho and Moyle v. United States, dismissing the case from the Supreme Court docket without a ruling on the merits, and sending it back down to continue in the lower courts. While the opinion temporarily restores the ability of doctors in Idaho to provide emergency abortions required under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), by dismissing Idaho’s appeal without resolving the core issues in the case, SCOTUS will only continue to put pregnant patients at unnecessary risk.

Moreover, the dissenting opinion by Justice Alito, joined by Justices Gorsuch and Thomas, will embolden those who are pursuing a strategy to give legal rights to embryos and fetuses that will override the rights of the pregnant person and ban not only abortion, but other forms of reproductive health care like fertility treatment and birth control as well.

Statement from Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project:

“It is now clear that the Supreme Court had the opportunity to hold once and for all that every pregnant person in this country is entitled to the emergency care they need to protect their health and lives, and it failed to do so. The Court’s refusal to clearly affirm the rights of all pregnant people to emergency abortion care, and put an unequivocal end to extremist attacks by anti-abortion politicians on this essential health care, is a dangerous preview for what could come. In fact, several justices provided a roadmap for just how they would strip pregnant people of this basic right when this case comes back to the Court.

“This fight is far from over–anti-abortion politicians are trying to ban abortion in all 50 states, including in emergencies. These extremist politicians went all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to put doctors in jail for providing life-and health-saving emergency abortion care, and they will do it again, if we let them.”

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in this case explaining how Idaho’s arguments cannot be justified under the Supreme Court’s own precedents and that all three branches of government have long recognized that hospitals are required under EMTALA to provide emergency abortion care to any patient who needs it.

The ACLU’s brief in Idaho and Moyle, et al. v. United States is a part of the ACLU’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Supreme Court Docket.

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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