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Idaho Repealed Its Abortion Ban. Deadline is Tomorrow

On Wednesday evening, a district judge in the United States granted a request made by the Biden administration. The motion asked the court to temporarily halt Idaho’s ban on abortion in circumstances where the law is in conflict with federal requirements for emergency care.

US District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said in her decision to hand down a preliminary injunction that the court “is not wrestling with” the larger problems of a person’s right to have an abortion.

“Rather, the Court is asked to evaluate a far more modest question, which is whether Idaho’s criminal abortion statute conflicts with a portion of federal legislation that is relatively insignificant but yet significant. Indeed, it does.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, also known as EMTALA, is a piece of legislation that was used by the Biden administration to challenge certain aspects of Idaho’s abortion ban, which was scheduled to go into effect on Thursday.

This was done by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which mandates certain emergency care requirements for specific medical professionals.

Winmill stated on Wednesday that it was likely that the Justice Department will be successful in its case that the state of Idaho’s ban on abortion criminalized abortion care that physicians are compelled to offer in the event of a medical emergency under EMTALA.


The judge wrote that neither the state nor the legislature had been able to persuade the court that it is possible for healthcare workers to simultaneously comply with their obligations under EMTALA and Idaho statutory law.

“In short, given the extraordinarily broad scope of Idaho Code 18-622,” the judge wrote, “neither the state nor the legislature has convinced the Court that it is possible for healthcare workers to comply with their obligations under EMTALA and Because of this disagreement, “the state law must thus surrender to the federal law to the extent that it exists.”

When CNN contacted the Attorney General’s Office in Idaho on Wednesday if it planned to appeal the order, the office declined to comment on its plans.

The provision that the abortion ban in Idaho makes for exceptional circumstances involving urgent medical care is one of the fewest in the whole country.

It is only applicable in situations when the practitioner believes that the abortion was necessary to save the life of the pregnant person. It does not permit abortions for other major health hazards, which is something that EMTALA is considering.

And the statute does not prevent clinicians who offer that emergency care from being charged with a felony; rather, it allows them to put out that explanation as an affirmative defence when they go to trial.

“When an abortion is a necessary treatment for stabilizing the patient’s condition, EMTALA directs physicians to provide that care if they reasonably expect the patient’s condition will result in serious impairment to bodily functions, serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part, or serious jeopardy to the patient’s health,” the judge wrote in her opinion.

“When an abortion is a necessary treatment for stabilizing the patient’s condition, EMTALA directs physicians to provide that care.”

“In contrast, the act that criminalizes abortion does not permit any exceptions of this kind. It only justifies abortions that the treating physician feels are required to prevent the patient from dying.

The decision is a victory for the Biden administration, which has had very few options at its disposal to respond to the overturning of Roe v. Wade’s safeguards of federal abortion rights by the Supreme Court in June.

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“Thanks to the ruling handed down by the District Court for the District of Idaho earlier today, it will now be possible for women living in the state of Idaho to receive the urgent care to which they are legally entitled under federal law.

This includes abortion in situations where it is the only treatment that can help the patient,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement on Wednesday.

In two separate lawsuits that originated in Texas, a federal judge disagreed with the administration’s interpretation of EMTALA, which held that women in life-threatening situations must have access to abortion services. In that particular case, the judge on Tuesday night issued a preliminary injunction against the administration, which stopped it from enforcing EMTALA in that manner in Texas.

The judge also issued the injunction against an organization of doctors who joined Texas in challenging the administration’s policy.

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