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

by | Jun 26, 2024

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court, in a post that briefly appeared on its website before being taken down, appears to have issued a decision in Moyle v. United States. On a 6-3 vote, the justice dismissed the case as “improvidently granted” and reinstated the lower court’s pause of 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

The United States disclaimed these interpretations of EMTALA. First, it emphatically disavowed the notion that an abortion is ever required as stabilizing treatment for mental health conditions. That is an important concession. If restricted to conditions posing serious jeopardy to a woman’s physical health, the Government’s reading of EMTALA does not gut Idaho’s Act. Second, the United States clarified that federal conscience protections, for both hospitals and individual physicians, apply in the EMTALA context. That is another critical point: It alleviates Idaho’s concern that the Government’s interpretation of EMTALA would strip healthcare providers of conscience protections.

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.

Categories: Supreme Court