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Errington: Supreme Court threatens to further tighten abortion restrictions endangering pregnant women

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INDIANAPOLIS - On April 24, Moyle v. United States was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, putting into question the applicability of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) in states with abortion bans. The EMTALA requires that all hospitals receiving funding from Medicare (virtually all hospitals), must provide necessary treatment, including abortion, in the case of a medical emergency. At the U.S. Supreme Court hearing, members debated whether the EMTALA overrides Idaho's state law restricting doctors from providing any abortion procedures.

The case first surfaced in August 2022 when the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit asserting that Idaho's abortion ban is superseded by the federal EMTALA. The Department of Justice successfully sought an injunction permitting emergency abortions, as required by federal law.

However, after review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the injunction was lifted, and the state's total abortion ban was upheld. Now, the case is in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Please attribute the following statement to State Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie):

“Once again, the health, autonomy and mental well-being of women is under assault. The EMTALA clearly states that patients experiencing medical emergencies must receive appropriate care to stabilize their condition. It also clearly states that state and local laws must defer to this requirement irrespective of any contradictions. If the Supreme Court were to base their decision purely on the provisions spelled out in the EMTALA, this would be an open and shut case.

“Even in states where abortion is banned, the EMTALA offers at least some protections for pregnant women in emergency circumstances. This case threatens to throw even these limited protections by the wayside, forcing pregnant women to put their lives on the line and forgo necessary medical treatment, until they are death's door. The crux of this case may be a simple question of states' rights, but the resulting outcome has the possibility to set a nasty precedent allowing the continued stripping away of women's rights.

“It is not only unnecessary to place pregnant women in this dangerous predicament; it is cruel. I sincerely hope that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of protecting women, especially in their most vulnerable moments. It is necessary that the EMTALA is applicable, especially in red states like Indiana.”

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