By Carrie Flaxman, Democracy Forward Senior Advisor

The far right’s brought yet another reproductive health case before the Supreme Court – and it’s just as unpopular as the last. The case is Moyle v. United States and it is so deeply out of step with the American people that everyone from Levi Strauss Co., to Yelp, to an association representing every single accredited American medical school has spoken out.

With it, extremists seek to undermine a long-standing federal protection and hallmark of emergency care called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The law entitles people coming to an emergency room to receive life- and health-saving care in most hospitals. That care can include abortion, which is sometimes necessary treatment for a patient experiencing a medical emergency. Idaho, represented by anti-abortion extremists, wants the Supreme Court to allow states to override this federal protection for pregnant patients, endangering their health, lives, and fertility.

Common-sense laws to protect the public’s health haven’t always been under attack. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act has long been regarded as a reasoned, measured law to ensure people get the care they need, when they need it. Originally passed by a bipartisan Congress and signed into law by President Reagan, it’s governed emergency care for nearly four decades. In other words: the law Idaho now wants the Supreme Court to undermine is older than the very first iPhone and the entire Department of Homeland Security. Amidst the backdrop of an already dire maternal mortality crisis in the United States, undermining federal protections for pregnant patients will only worsen outcomes for people’s health and lives.

Extremists don’t represent the mainstream. The vast majority of people believe that pregnant patients should be entitled to care. That includes a group of former officials from the Department of Health and Human Services representing every presidential administration from George H.W. Bush to Barack Obama. They wrote to the Supreme Court explaining that this law has always meant that pregnant patients needing an abortion in an emergency are able to obtain it. Major medical organizations – including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists, and the American College of Emergency Physicians – have also informed the Supreme Court they support access to care. The largest private employer in Idaho – the state at the core of this case – has also signaled its support of ensuring that federal law still protects pregnant patients. That employer also happens to be St. Luke’s: a hospital system that delivered over one-third of Idaho’s live births in 2022. And of course, many prominent businesses and business associations like Levi Strauss Co., Yelp, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Amalgamated Bank, Small Business Majority, Lyft, and others have also told the Supreme Court that these extreme restrictions on abortion are bad for business. 

If this seems like a group of unlikely bedfellows, you’re right. That speaks to just how unpopular and radical this latest attack on abortion access is.

Across the country extremists are attempting to take over our laws, our courts, and our elected offices with views that stand contrary to the vast majority of Americans. After all, nearly two-thirds of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. And when people get the chance to weigh in at the ballot box, they have resoundingly voted to increase access to abortion. The restrictive abortion policies extremists are supporting do not represent this broad-based consensus. 

And the far right is not stopping there. The very same actors behind attempts to strip us of our abortion rights are also behind other anti-majoritarian attacks on voting rights, books and libraries, separation of church and state, and more. Across issues extremists are working hard to create a country bound by their views, instead of the views of the many. Their vision is not a government of, by, and for the people, but a government of extremists, by the far right, and for an extremely narrow set of beliefs.

The Supreme Court must reject this attempt by the far right to bury the interests of the majority of Americans underneath the weight of extremism. And just as each justice must do their job, we each must do our jobs as members of a democracy. That means finding where your attorney general, state legislators, and companies you regularly patronize fall on this issue – and then voting with your money or your ballot based on it.

Because at the end of the day, the extremists trying to chip away at federal abortion protections are just that: extremists. A resounding majority of people want laws like this one to continue ensuring pregnant patients get medical care when they need it. So just like Levi Strauss Co. and Yelp, we must get vocal, too. Our access to abortion depends on it.