Here's what's at stake as Supreme Court is set to rule on Idaho's abortion law

Justices will decide whether doctors must be allowed to perform emergency abortions in states where they are outlawed in almost all cases.
Supreme Court Undecided Cases
Posted at 8:17 AM, Jun 20, 2024

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Idaho instituted one of the country's most restrictive abortion bans.

The state now only allows the procedure if it is "necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman." There is an exception for victims of rape and incest, but only in the first trimester.

The penalty for performing what Idaho calls a "criminal abortion" is 2 to 5 years in prison. Opponents believe it forces emergency room doctors to make an unfair choice.

The Biden administration is challenging the law, saying it conflicts with federal regulations — specifically the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA. It requires emergency rooms to treat patients in active labor and provide stabilizing care, and the Biden administration argues that includes abortion if necessary.

Idaho's Attorney General argues its law, which calls for emergency doctors to protect an unborn child, is consistent with federal law. In a filing with the Supreme Court, Idaho argues "EMTALA treats medical emergencies faced by 'the unborn child' of a pregnant woman no differently than emergencies faced by the mother herself."

Since the Idaho law went into effect, about one quarter of the state's obstetricians have stopped practicing.