While the Court lifted the dangerous stay it previously entered depriving pregnant people of emergency care in Idaho, the Court’s majority continues to put the lives and health of patients at risk by failing to protect essential emergency care 

Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Idaho and Moyle, et al. v. U.S., reinstating a lower court ruling allowing hospitals in the state to perform emergency abortions when the termination of a pregnancy is needed to save a woman’s health. That ruling will remain in effect, for now, while the litigation continues. In response to the case being dismissed, Democracy Forward President and CEO Skye Perryman issued the following statement:

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court failed women and mothers again through declining to rule unequivocally—as our Constitution requires—that Idaho’s state abortion ban conflicts with longstanding federal protection entitling people to health-saving emergency care. The Court’s decision now allows for women to receive some care, but it kicks the can down the road rather than addressing the merits of the case. The result is cruel and harmful, as women in Texas and elsewhere across the country continue to be deprived of necessary care through baseless attacks on emergency care. The Court today provided no relief against those attacks. The harms created by state abortion bans will remain as the challenges to the federal guarantee of care in emergency cases continue to loom in the courts,” Perryman continued. “Women and pregnant people deserve what our Constitution and our Congress has provided them: certainty that when they are seeking emergency medical care they are able to get it. Today’s decision will not alleviate the uncertainty for women and will continue to sow chaos in hospitals across the country.”



The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) guarantees that patients experiencing life- and health-threatening emergencies receive stabilizing care in most hospitals. That care can include abortion, which is sometimes the necessary treatment for a patient experiencing a medical emergency. Anti-abortion extremists argue that states with abortion bans should be allowed to override this federal protection for pregnant patients, putting their lives, health and fertility at risk. 

Democracy Forward represented the nation’s leading professional organizations of medical professionals, emergency physicians, and obstetrician-gynecologists in Idaho v. U.S. in the Supreme Court as well as the district and appeals courts. Together, those medical groups represent nearly 370,000 doctors. In this case, the state of Idaho was represented by the Idaho Attorney General and the Alliance for Defending Freedom, the same organization that supported overturning Roe v. Wade and is now leading the attempt to remove mifepristone from the market.

Democracy Forward also represents the medical community in briefs filed at the district and appeals court in State of Becerra v. Texas. In that case, on January 2, 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that Texas can ban emergency abortions in spite of federal law. The Department of Justice has sought Supreme Court review of that decision, and that petition is pending before the Court. The Fifth Circuit’s ruling in this case was “the latest blow to women in need of essential, life-saving health care,” Perryman said in January following the ruling.

To speak with Perryman or another Democracy Forward spokesperson about the implications of this case, please email dgrahamcaso@democracyforward.org. For more information about Democracy Forward and its role in Idaho and Moyle, et al v. United States, see here.

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