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20 states join Idaho's effort to support women, save unborn lives

Friend-of-the-court briefs filed with U.S. Supreme Court reinforce importance of allowing emergency room doctors to preserve life
Pregnant woman with a female doctor with a clipboard

WASHINGTON – Twenty states have united in support of Idaho’s efforts to preserve life-saving care for women and children from federal government overreach in a friend-of-the-court brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court in State of Idaho v. United States of America. In the case, the Biden administration is putting pregnant women and unborn children at risk by unlawfully attempting to force doctors to perform dangerous abortions that are illegal under Idaho’s Defense of Life Act.

Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, together with attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom and Cooper & Kirk, filed an emergency application for stay pending appeal on November 20 with the Supreme Court. The emergency application asks the nation’s high court to respect Idaho’s decision to protect the lives of women and their unborn children and immediately halt a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that held that the administration could misuse the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act to force emergency room doctors to put women and children’s lives at risk.

“Women and children deserve to know that emergency room physicians will do everything possible to preserve their lives. The government has no business forcing doctors to harm women’s health and take vulnerable lives,” said ADF Senior Counsel Erin Hawley, vice president of the ADF Center for Life and regulatory practice. “Idaho’s life-saving law and EMTALA share the same goal: to save every person’s life. This includes providing care to women experiencing ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and other life-threatening conditions. But the Biden administration is twisting the law to endanger the lives of women and their children. The states and groups that have filed briefs in support of Idaho join us in urging the Supreme Court to stop the Biden administration’s shameful abuse of power and allow emergency room doctors to freely and safely serve women and their families.”

Idaho’s law puts the lives of women and their unborn children first, preventing physicians from taking an unborn child’s life unless doing so is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman. The federal government claims—and the lower court wrongly agreed—that it can use EMTALA to force doctors to take unborn children’s lives, when EMTALA requires that emergency rooms provide life-saving care to all, including pregnant women and their “unborn child[ren].”

“[T]he United States’ position would permit the Executive Branch to seek decrees overriding all manner of state laws and fundamentally transform the relationships among citizens, their States, and the United States. Amici States have a profound interest in the swift rejection of that position to preserve the federalist structure, their power to regulate for the welfare of their citizens, and laws adopted by citizens’ representatives to protect unborn children from intentional destruction,” the brief led by the state of Indiana, and joined by 19 other states, explains.

Idaho also received friend-of-the-court support from Advancing American Freedom and 29 other organizations, the Institute for Faith and Family, and the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance and others.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Erin Hawley, Senior Counsel, Vice President of Center for Life & Regulatory Practice
Erin Morrow Hawley
Senior Counsel, Vice President of Center for Life & Regulatory Practice
Erin Morrow Hawley serves as senior counsel and vice president of the Center for Life and regulatory practice at Alliance Defending Freedom.