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Diarra Diouf's picture


JUST IN → The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today on EMTALA, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, still puts pregnant people at risk. For now, the 40 year old federal law requiring hospitals and doctors to provide emergency care, including abortions, when medically necessary will continue. However, the U.S. Supreme Court did not completely get rid of the politically motivated attacks on EMTALA. Instead, they created more confusion by sending the case back to Idaho, where it originated.

This all means that we have more work to do! We need permanent protection for abortion care for all.

SIGN OUR LETTER calling on Congress to act now to protect us —in every state—from harmful bans that strip away our rights and take us backward.

What is EMTALA: This law requires any hospitals to treat anyone with a medical emergency or complication, regardless of their immigrant status and ability to pay. Anti-abortion extremists have tried to ignore decades of legal precedent and exclude pregnant people from EMTALA’s protections, and today, they failed (for now). But, the fight continues. Justice Brown Jackson said this about the ruling, 

“Today’s decision is not a victory for pregnant patients in Idaho, it is a delay.” She also wrote, “While the court dawdles and the country waits, pregnant people experiencing emergency medical conditions remain in a precarious position as their doctors are kept in the dark about what the law requires.”

When might someone need an emergency abortion: There are a wide range of medical conditions where abortion care may be necessary and these emergencies often require quick action. Studies show at least a third of pregnancies involve ER visits, and up to 15% include potentially life-threatening conditions. In these emergencies, quick decisions are required to be made by health care providers who determine the best treatment for their patients—to protect the pregnant person's health and well-being, including loss of future fertility. [1][2] 

So, what’s at stake for pregnant people and doctors in Idaho (again), now that the case is back in Idaho courts?

  • Pregnant people facing medical emergencies might now be at risk of being denied the care they need, including abortion care. 

  • Doctors could be prevented from and criminalized for performing life-saving procedures and medical duties. Yes, that includes abortions.

SIGN ON WITH US as we call on all elected leaders to: Restore and expand access to reproductive rights, including abortion care, birth control, emergency contraception and medication abortion.

The bottom line is this: Without the protection of EMTALA, the lives of thousands of pregnant people facing medical emergencies could be at risk. The consequences of limited access to abortion are especially harsh for people who live in states with high maternal and infant mortality rates. If they can remove these protections in Idaho, they can do it anywhere. We must act now.

The vast majority of Americans agree that we should ALL be free to make our own decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures. Every pregnancy is different, which is why every person must be able to make their own decisions about what is best for them. Everyone experiencing a health emergency should be able to get the care they need—including an abortion—without political interference. 86% of people support protecting access to abortions for patients who are experiencing pregnancy-related emergencies. [3]

If you are a mother and/or caregiver, then you understand the importance of access to timely, affordable, equitable and comprehensive medical care. But for folks who aren’t, know that this impacts all of us, even those of us who may not be in need of abortion and/or know anyone in need of reproductive health care services. Please spread the word!

Will you join us? 

~ Diarra


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