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U.S. Supreme Court Appears to Issue a Decision in Moyle v. United States

Jun 26, 2024 | 2024 Press Releases, Press Releases, Press Room

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court, in a temporary post on its website, appears to have issued a 6-3 decision in Moyle v. United States and dismissed the case as “improvidently granted.” The decision reinstates the lower court’s pause on the Idaho law in question while litigation continues in the lower courts.

While we were hopeful for a ruling on the merits, the Court made clear that this case needs further lower court resolution. The state of Idaho had argued that the government’s interpretation of EMTALA would render Idaho’s pro-life law nearly unenforceable and would turn hospital emergency rooms into “federal abortion enclaves governed not by state law, but by physician judgment, and enforced by the United States’ mandate to perform abortions on demand.”  But during arguments, the U.S. government went on record claiming they were doing no such thing.

Justice Barrett, in her concurring opinion, notes that the

United States disclaimed these interpretations of EMTALA. First, it emphatically disavowed the notion that abortion is ever required as stabilizing care for mental health conditions…. Second, the United States clarified that federal conscience protections, both for hospitals and individual physicians, apply in the EMTALA context.

During the oral argument, the federal government identified numerous emergency medical conditions, and Idaho confirmed that they could ALL be treated under state law. 

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said, “The Biden-Harris Administration has used every lever at its disposal to push unlimited abortion. The Biden administration has deliberately created confusion and fear by claiming that women cannot and will not receive the emergency care they need.  We were pleased to see the U.S. government changing its tune during oral arguments, going on record to state that they are not trying to turn emergency rooms into elective abortion facilities.” 

We remain hopeful that lower courts will uphold the Idaho law which, like laws in all 50 states, explicitly allows miscarriage care and treatment in a medical emergency. EMTALA does not conflict with pro-life state laws—women can and will be able to get ongoing care for emergencies. 

National Right to Life filed a friend of the court brief supporting Idaho’s pro-life law, Defense of Life Act. The National Right to Life brief is available on the docket here.

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia.