HomeUSU.S. Supreme Court rules Idaho hospitals must perform abortions

U.S. Supreme Court rules Idaho hospitals must perform abortions

“Idaho law prohibits abortions unless necessary to prevent a pregnant woman’s death; the law makes no exception for abortions necessary to prevent grave harms to the woman’s health, like the loss of her fertility,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the majority opinion.

“EMTALA requires hospitals to provide abortions that Idaho’s law prohibits. When that is so, Idaho’s law is preempted. The court’s ruling today follows from those premises,” she wrote.  

According to the majority, EMTALA “ensures that a woman with no health risks of her own can demand emergency-room treatment if her fetus is in peril. It does not displace the hospital’s duty to a woman whose life or health is in jeopardy, and who needs an abortion to stabilize her condition. Then, the statute requires offering that treatment to the woman.”

The court’s decision dismisses Idaho’s appeals as improvidently granted, meaning that the case will return to the lower 9th Circuit Court, which has already ruled to block Idaho’s prohibition of abortions in hospitals. The decision also lifts a stay the Supreme Court had placed on the lower court’s decision in January.

The majority opinion was written by Justice Elena Kagan with Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson concurring. Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote a separate concurring opinion with which Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined.

The three dissenting voices were Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch.

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