In a bizarre move, the Biden administration is attempting to use a federal law that protects the “unborn child” to force Idaho to keep abortions legal.
National Review described the lawsuit from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland as a “bogus legal assault” on the Idaho abortion ban. Scheduled to go into effect Aug. 25, the law protects unborn babies by banning abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.
The federal government brought the suit seeking to invalidate the state’s “criminal prohibition on providing abortions as applied to women suffering medical emergencies,” Garland said.
His is one of several lawsuits filed against the Idaho law in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this summer.
But Garland’s lawsuit makes an “unusual” argument by claiming the pro-life law violates the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), according to National Review.
The federal law requires hospital emergency rooms to treat and “stabilize” anyone suffering from a medical emergency if they receive Medicaid funds. Its purpose is to make sure hospitals do not kick out patients suffering from medical emergencies if they cannot pay for treatment.
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The Biden administration lawsuit claims the Idaho law violates the EMTALA by banning abortions that would “stabilize” the health of a “pregnant patient,” the report states.
“Stabilize” is the key word. The Biden administration seemingly wants to expand the definition to include abortions in a wide-range of circumstances because, with actual medical emergencies involving pregnancy, treatment already is allowed under the Idaho law.
Interestingly, the Biden administration is citing EMTALA even though the federal law specifically requires emergency rooms to take steps to protect unborn babies.
“… far from being any sort of abortion mandate, EMTALA’s definition of ’emergency medical condition’ would generally require stabilizing treatment for both a pregnant woman and ‘her unborn child,’” Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center responded.
National Review continued:
EMTALA provides no basis at all to require states to permit abortion anywhere but in the emergency room of a hospital that takes Medicare patients, and, even then, treatment is required only where the pregnant woman arrives with “a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in- (i) placing the health of the . . . pregnant woman . . . or her unborn child . . . in serious jeopardy, (ii) serious impairment to bodily functions, or (iii) serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.” If a woman has some condition that places her in no immediate danger, EMTALA’s mandate to provide “stabilizing” treatment would not apply.
The Idaho pro-life law will save lives. In 2019, 1,513 unborn babies were aborted in the state, according to state health department data.
Despite false reports that abortion bans would prevent doctors from treating pregnant women for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, pro-life doctors confirm that is not the case. State pro-life laws make it clear that a miscarriage is not an abortion, and every state with an abortion ban allows treatment for both.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently accused the Biden administration of “weaponizing” the EMTALA for its pro-abortion agenda in a separate lawsuit. Paxton’s challenge involves a new guidance from the Biden administration telling hospitals that, under the EMTALA, they must perform abortions for “emergency medical conditions,” a broad term that may include situations when it is not necessary to abort the unborn baby.
Currently, 13 states protects unborn babies by limiting or banning abortions, and Idaho and several others are expected to enact pro-life laws in the coming weeks.
Under Roe, more than 63 million unborn babies were aborted in the United States. The 1973 ruling forced states to legalize abortion on demand up to viability and allowed abortions up to birth. Now, because of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruling, states may protect unborn babies by banning abortions again, and more than a dozen have done so.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates more than 122,000 unborn babies are being saved from abortion as a result of the pro-life laws currently in effect.