/ Modified mar 30, 2024 9:14 a.m.

Mayes urges SCOTUS: protect emergency abortion care amid Idaho ban

The amicus brief comes weeks before the United States Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments for the case.

abortion protest signs
Gage Judd/AZPM

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes is urging the United States Supreme Court to keep a preliminary injunction that would require Idaho hospitals to provide emergency abortion care.

Mayes filed a brief with the court after a near-total abortion ban in Idaho forced providers to stop abortion care even in cases of emergencies where patients are at risk for serious harm.

“Pregnant patients denied or forced to wait for necessary emergency care will suffer serious and sometimes irreparable harms,” the brief reads. “In addition, the risk of criminal prosecution or professional liability associated with providing emergency abortion care is driving healthcare providers to leave States with near total abortion bans, and forcing hospital systems to reduce or close their obstetrical and gynecological departments.”

Mayes and 23 other attorneys general say the law is inconsistent with the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. That federal statute requires all emergency departments that participate in Medicare provide patients who have an emergency medical condition with needed treatment. The Idaho ban would stop that placing what the attorneys general say is an unwarranted strain on the healthcare system.

“Access to emergency abortion care is critical for the health and safety of patients facing medical emergencies,” Mayes said in a press release. “Emergency medical decisions should be guided by the needs of the patient, not restrictive anti-abortion laws. Hospitals must be able to provide necessary care in emergencies, protecting both patients and healthcare providers under federal law.”

The justices are expected to hear oral arguments in the case in April. 

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