USA – Patients are being denied emergency abortions. Courts can only do so much.

Doctors say they fear that following their medical judgment could cost them their license or land them in jail.


Every state abortion ban has an exception to save a mother’s life. But what qualifies as a life-threatening medical emergency in Texas may not be enough for a doctor in Idaho, and even hospitals within the same state can look at an identical case and reach different conclusions.

The legal and medical murkiness has physicians around the country begging state officials to clarify when they can terminate pregnancies without risking legal peril. And as they await guidance from states, stories of pregnant patients turned away from hospitals in medical emergencies or forced to wait until their vitals crash have become emblematic of the confusion unleashed when the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision ended the federal right to an abortion in 2022.


USA – The Lie at the Heart of the Latest Supreme Court Abortion Case

‘Life of the mother’ exceptions are nothing more than a politically expedient lie designed to distract from the violence inherent in the maintenance of abortion bans.


Idaho will attempt to defend its extreme abortion ban at the Supreme Court this Wednesday. Like many other abortion bans in the United States, the Idaho law contains a so-called life exception, which purports to allow an abortion when “necessary to prevent the death” of the pregnant person. But do these exceptions actually preserve the lives of patients in practice? As Mayron Hollis, Amanda Zurawski, the family of Yeniifer Alvarez-Estrada Glick, and countless other women can attest, the answer is no. And the truth is, they’re not designed to.


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.


‘Idaho’s seen as a war zone’: the lone abortion activist defying militias and the far right

Jen Jackson Quintano is her region’s only abortion rights organizer. Faced with a ‘culture of silence’, she’s platforming women – and changing minds

by Cassidy Randall
Tue 12 Mar 2024

Last January, Jen Jackson Quintano stepped into a theater in Sandpoint, a tiny city in northern Idaho, to debut a production that could best be described as The Vagina Monologues meets The Moth – a night of Idahoans sharing stories about their own reproductive agency.

Quintano was nervous. Idaho, where Republicans outnumber Democrats five to one, has one of the most punitive abortion bans in the country. Further, Quintano lives in a region of the state that keeps making national headlines for bold displays of armed intimidation by militia, white supremacists, and Christian nationalists. This was not necessarily a safe place to talk about abortion.


Idahoans in rural Sandpoint reflect on a year without labor and delivery services

March 11, 2024
By Amanda Sullender

Lauren Sanders could not give birth in her hometown of Sandpoint. With the closure of the local hospitals’ labor and delivery services a year earlier, she had to drive over an hour to Coeur d’Alene to give birth to her son, now 4 months old.

“I was privileged to be able to drive that way for all my appointments and my birth. I was privileged to have the perfect pregnancy with no complications. I’m lucky ’cause that is who the laws of Idaho work for – people with perfect pregnancies,” Sanders said at a rally outside of Bonner General Hospital on Friday. “That is not the case for most people who give birth. Pregnancies are not supposed to be perfect.”


‘Fleeing under the cover of darkness’: How Idaho’s abortion ban is changing pregnancy in the state

By Meg Tirrell and John Bonifield, CNN
Sat February 10, 2024
(with 5 minute video: Why women are afraid to be pregnant in this red state)

Jen and John Adkins never expected to have to send a package like this.

Unsteady on her feet after a medical procedure last spring, Jen emerged from a clinic with a box she needed to ship urgently. The clock was ticking; if they missed the FedEx cutoff, she and John recalled to CNN, they wouldn’t be able to get crucial test results that would affect the future of their family.


The U.S. Supreme Court’s new, nightmare abortion cases, explained

The Court blocked a lower court order enforcing a federal law that protects patients who require medically necessary abortions.

By Ian Millhiser 
Jan 5, 2024

The Supreme Court handed down two significant orders on Friday evening. The first announces that the Court will hear a case asking whether former President Donald Trump is disqualified from running for president. The Court’s decision to hear this case was widely expected, and the biggest news in this order is that the Court plans to hear the case on an expedited basis, with oral arguments taking place on February 8.

The second order is more surprising and potentially almost as consequential: The Court temporarily blocked a lower court’s decision holding that patients who require an abortion to save their life or prevent catastrophic health consequences are entitled to such an abortion under federal law.


Kate Cox case reveals toll of US abortion bans on women in medical emergencies

Lawsuits from women denied the procedure despite health risks shows how bans don’t allow for complexities of pregnancy

Carter Sherman
Sat 16 Dec 2023

When Kate Cox got the news that her baby would probably only live for a few days, she went online to figure out her options. A 31-year-old mother of two living in Texas, Cox could not get an abortion, but she also knew that she did not want to make her baby suffer.

That’s when Cox came across the news that 20 Texas women had come forward to tell a court that they, like her, had been unable to get abortions in medical emergencies. Within days, Cox went public too: she became the first woman since the fall of Roe v Wade to sue for an abortion while actively pregnant.


Idaho asks supreme court to decide on law penalizing abortion providers

At issue is a court ruling that the state’s abortion ban conflicts with government rules mandating the provision of emergency care

Carter Sherman
Thu 30 Nov 2023

The US supreme court is on the verge of being dragged back into the abortion wars.

Eighteen months after the court’s conservative majority overturned Roe v Wade and abolished the national right to abortion, the state of Idaho, represented by the conservative legal powerhouse the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has asked the nation’s highest court to allow a law that penalizes abortion providers. The state is requesting that the court halt a federal court decision finding that Idaho’s ban conflicts with government rules governing the provision of emergency care.


The choice: a rural mother and abortion care on the Washington-Idaho border

Even in places where abortion is legal, the inaccessibility of the procedure elsewhere can seep over state lines by Katia Riddle in Clarkston, Washington

Fri 24 Nov 2023

As she walks in the door on a recent afternoon to relieve her parents of caring for her five-month-old daughter, Jasmine feels a familiar pang of guilt.

Jasmine*, 28, is a single mother raising four kids in a small town in far eastern Washington, near the border of Idaho. Her partner of more than a decade – and father of her children – is incarcerated for an assault charge that she brought against him.

Without her parents stepping in to help, she’d struggle to hold down her job at a factory. But she knows it’s hard on them.