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Attorney General Josh Stein Acts to Protect Emergency Abortion Care

For Immediate Release:
Friday, March 29, 2024

Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein filed a friend-of-the-court brief that seeks to safeguard Americans’ access to abortion care during medical emergencies. Attorney General Stein and a coalition of 24 attorneys general are urging the U.S. Supreme Court in two consolidated cases to uphold a preliminary injunction that requires Idaho hospitals to provide emergency abortion care under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

“If a woman’s life or health is at risk, it’s imperative that she get the emergency medical care she needs,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Abortion care is medical care, and hospitals must continue to provide it.”

Every hospital in the United States with an emergency department that participates in Medicare is subject to EMTALA. Under that law, emergency rooms are required to provide all patients who have an emergency medical condition with the treatment they need to stabilize their condition, including abortion care if necessary. In Idaho, however, state law criminalizes abortion care in nearly all situations, including when a pregnant woman needs an abortion to protect her from a medical emergency.

The federal government sued to stop enforcement of the Idaho law and has argued that states cannot undermine EMTALA’s requirements with their own laws criminalizing abortion. In their brief, the attorneys general explains that abortion care has always been considered emergency care under EMTALA. Idaho residents, as well as students, workers, or visitors in Idaho, should be able to get abortion care in emergencies regardless of the state’s abortion ban.

Joining Attorney General Stein in filing this brief are the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the brief is available here.

More on Attorney General Stein’s efforts to protect women’s reproductive care:

  1. Attorney General Josh Stein Statement on SCOTUS Mifepristone Case
  2. Attorney General Stein Urges Court to Protect Medication Abortion Access
  3. Attorney General Josh Stein Condemns Texas Supreme Court Decision Upholding Dangerous Abortion Ban
  4. Attorney General Josh Stein Continues to Protect Access to Lawful Reproductive Care
  5. Attorney General Josh Stein Supports Protections for Reproductive Health Privacy