IFPC Files Brief Supporting Idaho Defense of Life Act

IFPC Files Brief Supporting Idaho Defense of Life Act

Earlier this week, Idaho Family Policy Center – along with more than two dozen other policy organizations – filed an amicus brief in support of the Idaho Defense of Life Act, also known as the Trigger law.

Our brief – which was authored by Marc Wheat, general counsel for Advancing American Freedom – makes a strong case for why the US Supreme Court should intervene in the ongoing federal court battle over whether key protections in the Idaho Defense of Life Act apply in hospital emergency departments.

The case stems from a Biden administration lawsuit filed last year which claims that the Idaho Defense of Life Act conflicts with federal law. On September 29, 2023, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state, allowing the full provisions of the Idaho Defense of Life Act to go into effect. But less than two weeks later, the Ninth Circuit reversed course, permitting non-essential abortions in emergency rooms and announcing that it would rehear the case en banc.

The federal law in question, known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), prevents hospitals from dumping emergency room patients who lack the ability to pay for stabilizing medical treatments.

According to the Biden administration, EMTALA compels emergency room physicians to offer abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother. But this novel interpretation conflicts with the plain language of EMTALA, which is silent on the question of whether and when hospitals should provide abortions. Notably, the term “abortion” appears nowhere in the statutory text, and the law expressly instructs hospitals to treat preborn children as patients in emergency situations.

“It is highly doubtful that [EMTALA], directed as it was at providing emergency care for patients unable to afford treatment and enacted by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, signed by President Reagan, and with language designed to protect the interests of unborn children, was really a Trojan horse for mandatory abortion,” our amicus brief argues.

Will the US Supreme Court act quickly to stop this blatant power grab by the Biden administration? We don’t know. But its eventual action – or lack thereof – will have a far-reaching impact for pro-life protections across the country.




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