‘Tragedy Upon Tragedy’: What the Justices’ Questions on EMTALA Revealed

The narrowing of options for physicians in Idaho leaves them in a bind: Do you perform an abortion that could save a woman’s life or her organs, as dictated by EMTALA, or will you face penalties under Idaho law? 

Oral arguments can sometimes reveal how the justices of the Supreme Court are approaching the issue at hand. The questions asked by the justices suggest three things: a lack of clarity under Idaho law; abortion as the standard of care; and acknowledgement of fetal personhood.

Supreme Court Abortion Pill Case Begs the Question: Will the Majority Let Reason Prevail?

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. The case concerns the drug mifepristone, one of the two medications used to complete a self-induced abortion.

Tuesday’s oral arguments suggested the Court would not be using this case to strike a blow at the FDA’s drug regulating authority. But lost in the discussions about mifepristone are the lived experiences of people who use mifepristone to have abortions.

‘Wrong’ and ‘Backwards’: Texas Judge Rules Against Biden Administration’s Fight for Emergency Abortion Access

In response to the overturn of Roe, the Biden administration highlighted the role of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which states that any hospital receiving Medicare funds must screen and stabilize patients for emergency medical conditions regardless of whether or not a patient could pay. In a post-Roe world, if a physician believes a pregnant patient has an emergency medical condition as defined by EMTALA and that an abortion is necessary, the physician must provide that treatment even where state law contravenes.

By challenging EMTALA, Texas is signaling that it is okay with patient dumping—especially when those patients are pregnant.

The Supreme Court Clearly Doesn’t Care About Women’s Lives

If we pay attention to those whose lives have already been destroyed by an inability to access abortion, we can see our collective future and the depths the challenges to come. Centering the voices of those who have struggled to get care—even as we recognize the implications of Dobbs on everyone—allows us to predict at least three immediate consequences of last week’s decision.   

Coercing Rape Survivors to Be Pregnant for the State—The Texas Way

Texas has one of the nation’s highest rape rates. Shockingly, its newest near-total abortion ban contains no exceptions for rape or incest. When asked about this, Gov. Greg Abbott said, “Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas.”

Abbott’s disturbing pledge fits in line with a tried-and-true political strategy: claim to address a public health issue by pivoting to crime control. But as history has taught us, public health crises will not be solved in the prosecutor’s office or by claiming to be tough on crime.