Conservative justices 'skeptical' of Biden lawsuit against Idaho's strict anti-abortion law

 April 25, 2024

Many states, including Idaho, have near-total abortion bans in place in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade

Not surprisingly, many of those laws are currently being challenged, even at the Supreme Court level.

According to NBC News, the high court appeared to be divided this week on whether or not Idaho's strict anti-abortion laws "unlawfully conflict with a federal law aimed at ensuring certain standards for emergency medical care for patients, including pregnant women."

The Biden administration, in its quest to push for "reproductive freedom" for women, sued the state over its laws.

Supreme Court's take

Not surprisingly, liberal members of the high court backed the Biden administration's stance on the matter, agreeing that the law could block certain life-saving provisions in place for women suffering pregnancy complications.

NBC News noted:

The justices are weighing an appeal brought by Idaho officials who are contesting a lawsuit the Biden administration filed over abortion access in emergency situations.

The state's strict anti-abortion laws were enacted in 2022 in the wake of Roe's overturning. The laws immediately drew criticism from the White House and Democrats in general.

NBC News added:

The federal government sued, leading a federal judge in August 2022 to block the state from enforcing provisions concerning medical care that is required under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA.

The Biden administration argues that the 1986 law should cover emergency abortion situations.

"Unborn child"

Justice Samuel Alito was the most skeptical, according to court observers. He dialed in on the EMTALA law referring to treatment for an "unborn child," a term more commonly used by anti-abortion advocates, as NBC noted.

"Isn't that an odd phrase to put in a statute that imposes a mandate to perform abortions?" the conservative justice asked Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar. "Have you seen abortion statutes that use the phrase 'unborn child'? Doesn't that tell us something?"

Other conservative justices asked whether or not the federal government has the power to mandate such standards for situations tied to Medicare.

A resolution on the matter could be announced later this year.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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