The Biden administration sued the state of Idaho on Tuesday over a law it says imposes a ‘near-absolute ban’ on abortion — the first lawsuit of its kind filed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.
Idaho’s ban, which will be enacted later this month, violates a federal law requiring medical providers to offer emergency medical treatment, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday while announcing the lawsuit.
The extreme ban would make it nearly impossible for patients who need an abortion in emergency medical situations to receive potentially lifesaving treatment, according to the Justice Department.
‘If a patient comes into the emergency room with a medical emergency jeopardizing the patient’s life or health, hospitals must provide the treatment necessary to stabilize that patient,’ Garland said.
‘This includes abortion, and that is the necessary treatment.’
Under Idaho’s law it would be a criminal offense for doctors to provide the emergency medical treatment that federal law requires.
Idaho’s new law would make providing abortions in almost all circumstances punishable by up to five years in prison. The ban has exceptions for cases of rape or incest if reported to authorities.
While the law has an exception to prevent the death of a pregnant person, it provides no exception for cases which the abortion is needed to prevent serious jeopardy to the patient’s health.
Under the law, doctors providing an abortion in order to save a life would be subject to prosecution, Garland said.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for Idaho, seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against the state that would halt the enforcement of the law. The lawsuit also asked the court to rule that the law violates federal statutes.
‘Today, the Justice Department’s message is clear… if a patient comes into the emergency room with a medical emergency jeopardizing the patient’s life or health, the hospital must provide the treatment necessary to stabilize that patient,’ Garland said.
The lawsuit marks the Justice Department’s first legal battle over reproductive rights since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v Wade ruling, which made abortion legal under federal law.
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