Anti-abortion states are targeting an emergency healthcare law. Will the supreme court side with them?

Justices to rule whether abortion bans should undo Emtala, the Reagan-era law requiring hospitals to treat emergency patients

Jessica Glenza
Sun 21 Apr 2024

One of the only universal rights to healthcare in the US is to be treated in the emergency room – a place where doctors are required to stabilize patients if their future health or life is in serious jeopardy.

That right, guaranteed by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, known across the country by healthcare professionals as Emtala, was borne out of what was once a common practice called “patient dumping” – transferring patients who could not pay from private hospitals to public counterparts, even in emergency situations.