Supreme Court decision allows pregnant people in Idaho to access emergency abortion care — for now

By Jen Christensen, CNN
Thu June 27, 2024

Pregnant people in Idaho should be able to access abortion in a medical emergency in Idaho, at least for now.

The Supreme Court formally dismissed an appeal over Idaho’s strict abortion ban on Thursday, blocking enforcement of the state’s law where it conflicts with federal law. With Thursday’s decision, the state would not be allowed to deny an emergency abortion to a pregnant person whose health is in danger, at least while the case makes its way through the courts.


Idaho – When “abortion travel” becomes a nightmare: A tale of no good choices

She wanted a baby — but her fetus had no chance of survival. How Idaho's abortion laws led to devastating trauma

JUNE 12, 2024

Rebecca Vincen-Brown was still in her first trimester of pregnancy, in the late fall of 2022, when things started to go wrong. She had blood drawn for a standard genetic test called noninvasive prenatal testing, or NIPT, which can detect increased risks for various chromosomal disorders. The results of the test took slightly longer than normal to come back, and when they did, Vincen-Brown received a troubling phone call: The test was “inconclusive” because not enough fetal DNA was detected in her blood.

NIPT cannot diagnose fetal disorders conclusively, but the possibilities were troubling: Her fetus might have triploidy, trisomy 13 or trisomy 18, rare and serious genetic conditions involving either an extra set of chromosomes or an extra copy of one chromosome. While the specifics vary, most infants born with these conditions will live only days or weeks, and almost none will survive to adulthood.


SCOTUS v. Pregnant Patients: Idaho’s Abortion Fight Could Blow Up a “Revolutionary” Health Care Law

“My reaction can be summed up as ‘appalled,’” says health policy guru Sara Rosenbaum.

NINA MARTIN, Mother Jones
Apr 27, 2024

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in what could end up being its most consequential abortion decision since Dobbs. In a case pitting Idaho’s extreme abortion ban against a federal law known as EMTALA—that since 1986 has required hospitals to provide emergency care—conservative justices seemed to embrace the idea that states can deny crisis medical treatment to pregnant patients, even if doing so means those patients suffer catastrophic, life-altering injuries. “My reaction can be summed up as ‘appalled,’” says Sara Rosenbaum, emerita professor at George Washington University who is one of the country’s foremost experts in health policy issues affecting women and families. “Will [the court] really say it is fine [to enforce] a law that costs women their organs as long as they don’t die?”


‘How sick do they have to get?’ Doctors brace for US supreme court hearing on emergency abortions

As states ban abortions, a 1968 federal law requires hospitals that receive Medicare dollars to stabilize patients in a medical emergency, creating a catch-22 for care providers

Carter Sherman
Tue 23 Apr 2024

Dr Lauren Miller used to cry every day on her way to work.

A fetal maternal medicine specialist in Idaho, Miller despaired over the possibility she might be forced to tell patients she could not help them. Idaho has one of the strictest abortion bans in the nation, which means Miller could only perform abortions to save a woman’s life – and many patients, even those facing medical emergencies with potentially deadly consequences, were not yet sick enough to qualify.


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.