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Idahoans have chosen to protect life. Biden is trying to stop us

by | Apr 26, 2024

By Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador

Editor’s note. This appeared in The Hill.

In his 2021 inaugural address, President Biden remarked, “The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We have learned again that democracy is precious.”

Then, a year later, this self-declared unifier sued my state for exercising democracy.

Idaho passed the Defense of Life Act in 2020 to protect the lives of women and their unborn children. The law officially became enforceable in June 2022, when the Supreme Court ruled Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the people and their elected representatives in the states have the power to pass pro-life laws. Idahoans stand to protect life, and our law is a reflection of their will.

But the Biden administration didn’t care. A couple of months after Dobbs gave this decision-making power back to the states, the administration manipulated a federal law to say we still don’t have that power. The Justice Department sued Idaho, claiming that a federal law — the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) — supersedes our own law and in fact even forces emergency room doctors to perform abortions.

This could not be further from the truth. EMTALA contains no provisions about abortion. In fact, that particular law requires emergency room physicians to care for pregnant women and their “unborn child[ren].” No conflict exists between Idaho’s law and EMTALA. A conflict does exist, however, between the will of the people of Idaho and the Biden administration’s adherence to an extreme abortion agenda.

EMTALA was passed to ensure that emergency rooms serve everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. The purpose of this law is to save lives, not to take them. Similarly, Idaho’s law ensures that mothers’ and children’s lives are protected. There is harmony between Idaho’s law and EMTALA, but the administration is attempting to sow discord. Rather than seek to save lives, it is twisting the law into something unrecognizable, all to endanger lives and unnecessarily burden emergency room staff.

Emergency room doctors in Idaho — and in every state, in fact — treat women who suffer from ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and other life-threatening conditions. Doctors are bound by oath to protect their patients — every patient, including unborn children. The actions of the administration would force them to violate their oath and violate state law.

Because the administration is attempting to put its will above the people of Idaho, my office is standing in defense of our law. A lower court ruled against our ability to enforce our law, so we appealed that decision to the high court. Our efforts have already paid off. In January, the Supreme Court not only agreed to hear our case but also allowed us to enforce our law while the Court reviews the administration’s actions.

Make no mistake about it: Although Biden claims that his “whole soul” is in on uniting America, his administration is pushing an extreme agenda that is seeking to end lives rather than save them. His administration is attempting to use federal law to trump state law in direct opposition to the people of Idaho and legal precedent. Rather than respect democracy, Biden is kowtowing to abortion lobbyists, who stand to lose the most by allowing the unborn to have a chance at life.

With the help of the legal firms Alliance Defending Freedom and Cooper and Kirk — both of which have impressive track records at the U.S. Supreme Court — my office is working to uphold Idaho’s law. The Supreme Court heard our case Wednesday as we asked the court to end the Biden administration’s lawlessness and reckless disregard for life, women’s health, medical integrity, and democracy. A favorable ruling will uphold what Idaho’s law and EMTALA are both written to do: save lives.

Categories: Supreme Court