Supreme Court Considers Whether EMTALA Conflicts with Idaho's Law Allowing Abortions to Save a Mother's Life

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Moyle v. United States (consolidated with Idaho v. United States) to determine if the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) conflicts with Idaho's state law that allows abortions in cases when the pregnancy risks the mother's life. The Biden/Harris Administration's interpretation would compel hospital emergency rooms to provide elective abortions not required by EMTALA. This assertion goes well beyond life-saving abortions, turning hospitals into abortion facilities. The Court is expected to issue a decision by the end of its session in June or early July.

Texas Alliance for Life's Communications Director Amy O'Donnell had this to say about the federal challenge to state pro-life laws:

EMTALA, which recognizes two patients in cases of pregnancy, the mother and the unborn child, requires hospitals to provide medically necessary care to stabilize both patients in emergency situations, which could include abortions in those rare and tragic cases when a pregnancy endangers a woman's life. All states' laws allow abortions in those circumstances, including the laws of Idaho and Texas. 

The pro-abortion Biden/Harris Administration's misinterpretation of EMTALA threatens to transform hospitals into abortion facilities. The Administration asserts that any pregnancy could necessitate abortion at a single physician's discretion, another attempt to trample on state abortion laws intended to protect unborn babies from elective abortions.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld Texas' law that protects unborn babies from abortion, with exceptions for medically necessary abortions, from a similar challenge. That Court found that Texas law allows all life-saving abortions required by EMTALA. We believe the Supreme Court should uphold Idaho's law in the same way.


  • Signed by pro-life President Reagan in 1986, EMTALA requires hospitals to treat patients with emergency medical conditions regardless of their ability to pay. The Biden/Harris administration directive threatens to turn hospitals into abortion facilities by claiming that any pregnancy could require abortion if so deemed by a physician. Their so-called guidance goes beyond EMTALA by mandating abortion, where the act does not mandate medical treatments. 
  • The Biden Administration directive also falsely suggests that Idaho and other state pro-life laws fail to protect women facing life-threatening emergencies during pregnancy. This is untrue. All state's pro-life laws provide an abortion exception for those rare but tragic circumstances in which a pregnancy poses a threat to a mother's life or poses a risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function. 
  • In Idaho, a lower district court judge prohibited the state from enforcing its law to the extent that they said it conflicted with EMTALA. The Ninth Circuit of Appeals held that "the two laws would not conflict" and that EMTALA does not mandate abortions punishable under Idaho's law. However, the Ninth Circuit allowed the lower court's ruling to remain in effect pending a rehearing. This case is now before the Supreme Court to rule on the merits.
  • Similar to Idaho, Texas faced a federal challenge to its abortion laws and whether they conflicted with EMTALA. In Becerra v. Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously denied the Biden/Harris Administration's attempt to force hospitals to provide abortions beyond state law. The Texas Human Life Protection Act continues to safeguard unborn babies from abortion, with an exception when the pregnancy endangers the mother's life or poses a serious risk of substantial bodily harm. 
  • According to the latest data from Texas Health & Human Services (through November 2023), reported elective abortions have dropped to zero. However, doctors have performed 75 abortions under the medical necessity exception (for the life or health of the pregnant woman), all in hospitals since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs. No doctor has faced prosecution by a district attorney or sanctions from the Texas Medical Board.

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