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Supreme Court Blocks Biden Admin’s Attempt to Force Idaho’s Emergency Room Doctors to Perform Abortions in violation of Idaho’s Defense of Life Act

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The order puts on hold the lower court rulings and sets a timeline for oral arguments to be held in April

This post will largely be how Daniel Estes, Idaho’s Attorney General, characterized the Supreme Court’s decision that came down last Friday. I learned a lot, and I believe you will, too. The headline for his office’s take was “Idaho’s life-saving law to come before US Supreme Court”.


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court Friday halted a lower court ruling that allowed the Biden administration to misuse the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act to force emergency room doctors to perform abortions in violation of Idaho’s Defense of Life Act.

Idaho’s law puts the lives of women and their unborn children first, preventing physicians from ending an unborn child’s life unless doing so is necessary to save the life of the mother.  The stay issued in State of Idaho v. United States of America will remain in effect until the high court decides the case later this year, allowing Idaho to continue to protect the lives of women and their children as the litigation continues.  The Supreme Court went so far as to grant a writ of certiorari, taking the matter completely out of the hands of the lower court.

The Court’s actions come in response to a request by the Office of the Attorney General of Idaho, with the assistance of attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom and Cooper & Kirk, to prevent the Biden administration from misusing federal law to force Idaho emergency room doctors to deny life-saving care to vulnerable patients.

“We are very pleased and encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision. The federal government has been wrong from day one,” said Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador. “Federal law does not preempt Idaho’s Defense of Life Act. In fact, EMTALA and Idaho’s law share the same goal: to save the lives of all women and their unborn children. My Office of Solicitor General—together with the experienced and highly-respected supreme court advocacy firms I’ve selected to assist us—looks forward to representing the people of Idaho before the Supreme Court.  The administration’s lawless attempt to override Idaho’s decision to preserve all our citizens’ lives must be stopped.”

“Women and unborn children deserve to know that emergency room doctors will do everything possible to preserve their lives. This includes treating women experiencing ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and other life-threatening conditions,” said ADF Senior Counsel Erin Hawley, vice president of the ADF Center for Life and Center for Regulatory Practice. “The government has no business forcing emergency room physicians to violate their duty to provide life-saving care to all, including unborn children. We are proud to serve alongside the State of Idaho to ensure doctors can freely and safely serve women and their families.”

“The district court’s preliminary injunction was wrong about the scope of EMTALA and when a federal law preempts a state law,” said Chuck Cooper, chairman and founding partner of Cooper & Kirk. “Idaho’s position has already been supported by two appellate three-judge panels, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay is consistent with Idaho’s view. We look forward to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the merits of the case later this year.”

In a friend-of-the court brief, 20 states united in support of Idaho’s efforts to preserve life-saving care for women and children from federal government overreach.


Ever watchful for any scheme it can use to multiply the number of abortions, in 2022 the Biden administration sued Idaho, using the federal EMTALA as a lever. EMTALA, established by the pro-life Reagan Administration, is “a federal Medicare statute meant to protect access to emergency treatment regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.” Among the vulnerable patients “were pregnant mothers in labor,” as Ashley Leenerts of  Texas Right to Life, explained. They would receive essential care for themselves and their preborn children.

But when the U.S. sued the State of Idaho, they claimed that EMTALA overrode Idaho’s pro-life law and “requires emergency departments to treat and stabilize any patient, and that doctors there could conclude an abortion is necessary to do so,” Michael Macagnone wrote The Hill.

Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho “sided with the Biden administration and blocked implementation of the state law, finding that it violated the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act,” Macagnone wrote.

“A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit initially ruled in favor of the law, but the full court later paused the law while the case played out. The Supreme Court order puts on hold the lower court rulings and sets a timeline for oral arguments to be held in April.”


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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