Supreme Court Allows Idaho Abortion Law To Stay In Effect As Biden Admin Sues
The US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, US, on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. Donald Trump asked the US Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that would bar him from the presidential ballot in Colorado, setting up a historic showdown over whether his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol disqualifies him from office.
Credit: Photographer: Kent Nishimura/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The Supreme Court has allowed an Idaho law making it a crime to perform an abortion to take effect before it weighs in on the law. 

A federal judge had previously blocked implementation of Idaho’s “Defense of Life Act” after the Biden administration sued to overturn the law saying that it violated the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in April, but will allow the law to be enforced in the meantime. 

“We are very pleased and encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision today. The federal government has been wrong from day one. Federal law does not preempt Idaho’s Defense of Life Act. In fact, EMTALA and Idaho’s law share the same goal: to save the lives of all women and their unborn children. Today, the Supreme Court’s decision is a big step in stopping the administration’s lawless overreach. The people of Idaho have spoken with clarity on the issue of life,” Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador said. 

The law says that those who administer abortions shall be punished with two to five years in prison and the suspension of medical license on first offense and revocation on second.

In response to the decision, the White House claimed that the law “denies women critical emergency abortion care required by federal law.” The Biden administration has argued that federal law would allow doctors to do abortions in circumstances not allowed by state law. 

“The overturning of Roe v. Wade has enabled Republican elected officials to pursue dangerous abortion bans like this one that continue to jeopardize women’s health, force them to travel out of state for care, and make it harder for doctors to provide care, including in an emergency,” the White House said. 


The Alliance Defending Freedom, which helped appeal the decision to block the law to the Supreme Court, said that the Biden administration wanted to use the EMTLA to “force emergency room doctors to perform abortions.”

“The government has no business forcing doctors to harm their patients or violate their duty to provide life-saving care to all, including unborn children. We are proud to serve alongside the state of Idaho to ensure emergency room doctors can freely and safely serve women and their families,” said ADF Senior Counsel Erin Hawley. 

The Supreme Court is also set to decide this year on a case over mifepristone, the drug used in over half of all abortions.

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