Rosen Joins Colleagues in Amicus Brief Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Affirm Hospitals Must Provide Emergency Stabilizing Care, Including Abortion Care

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined Congressional colleagues in submitting an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in two consolidated cases that are threatening a federal law that requires hospitals to provide emergency medical treatment. The two cases, Moyle v. United States and Idaho v. United States, are challenging the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), a federal law that requires hospitals to provide necessary “stabilizing treatment” to patients experiencing medical emergencies, which can include abortion care.

After the Dobbs decision in 2022, an anti-abortion law in Idaho was allowed to go into effect making it a felony for a doctor to terminate a patient’s pregnancy unless it is “necessary” to prevent the patient’s death. The United States sued the State of Idaho, arguing that the state’s law is preempted by EMTALA in cases in which abortion may not be necessary to prevent imminent death, but is still necessary to stabilize and treat a patient’s emergency medical condition.

In their brief in support of the Justice Department, lawmakers ask the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the district court’s ruling that EMTALA requires Medicare-participating hospitals to provide abortion as emergency medical treatment. They argue that EMTALA preempts Idaho’s abortion ban in emergency situations that threaten patients’ health.

“[T]he 99th Congress passed EMTALA to ensure that every person who visits a Medicare-funded hospital with an ‘emergency medical condition’ is offered stabilizing treatment,” wrote the Members. “…That text—untouched by Congress for the past three decades—makes clear that in situations in which a doctor determines that abortion constitutes the ‘[n]ecessary stabilizing treatment’ for a pregnant patient… federal law requires the hospital to offer it. Yet Idaho has made providing that care a felony, in direct contravention of EMTALA’s mandate that it be offered.”

“These are not hypothetical scenarios. Because Idaho’s abortion ban contains no clear exceptions for the ‘emergency medical conditions’ covered by EMTALA, physicians are forced to wait until their patients are on the verge of death before providing abortion care,” they continued. “Federal law does not allow Idaho to endanger the lives of its residents in this way.”

The lawmakers conclude by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the district court’s decision that EMTALA requires Medicare-participating hospitals to provide abortion care when it is necessary as an emergency medical treatment.

The lawmakers’ amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court can be read in full HERE.

Senator Rosen continues fighting back against anti-choice efforts to restrict access to reproductive rights. Senator Rosen helped introduce the Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act to protect doctors and other health care professionals from being prosecuted for providing reproductive care to their patients. Senator Rosen also helped introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect reproductive freedoms in federal law.