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Abortion Coalition for Telemedicine’s Statement in advance of Supreme Court oral arguments in Idaho v. US and Moyle v. US which imperils emergency doctors and their pregnant patients

April 23, 2024

Idaho’s anti-abortion state officials are seeking to undermine the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), claiming its state laws exclude abortion services. The law, which requires any Medicare-funded emergency room to provide stabilizing care, including abortion, has protected the health of women and pregnant people nationwide for over 40 years. 

Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Idaho v. United States and Moyle v, United States, before issuing a ruling this summer that has the potential to further diminish lifesaving pregnancy and miscarriage care in abortion-hostile states.

Denying healthcare care by giving a fetus “patient” status rights in emergency departments is playing Russian Roulette with people’s health, particularly in states where abortion is banned or restricted. If Idaho officials win this case, women and pregnant people who seek follow up care for self-managed or telemedicine abortion will be fearful of criminal charges or civil actions against them and may dangerously avoid emergency rooms altogether.

Emergency healthcare professionals are already facing tremendous pressure in states that are hostile to abortion. They should be able to provide evidence-based care and adhere to medical ethics, which call for rapid and effective intervention as soon as an emergency is identified. Instead, they are expressing distress at having to delay essential patient care, fear of criminal charges or loss of license. 

ACT is working to address this situation through a coalition effort, strategizing with legal experts and emergency doctors to create guidelines and policies that will empower dedicated healthcare workers to provide all pregnant people with emergency care without regard to anti-abortion politics or hostility. 

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