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Justice Department Sues Idaho Over Abortion Ban

“We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law.”

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Biden’s Justice Department has sued the state of Idaho over their abortion ban that is set to come into effect later this month.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department was suing Idaho, because their abortion ban, which only provides exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother, is in direct contradiction of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, known as EMTALA.

EMTALA requires every hospital that receives Medicare funds to provide medical treatment necessary to stabilize someone who is suffering from a medical emergency. “In some circumstances, the medical treatment necessary to stabilise the patient’s condition is abortion,” Garland argued.

Such cases may include when the woman is undergoing a miscarriage, or preeclampsia, a condition that can result in death.

The Idaho abortion ban, 18-622, creates an “affirmative defense to prosecution” of those who perform abortions in the state, defined as “the use of any means to intentionally terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child,” in the above exceptions.

As the Justice Department noted, it places “the burden on the doctors to prove they are not criminally liable.” Doctors who do not confirm with the law risk a sentence of two to five years in prison, and a revocation of their medical licence.

Garland also said that there is no “exception for cases in which the abortion is necessary to prevent serious jeopardy to the woman’s health” within the Idaho legislation.

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These charges were dismissed by pro-life organizations, including Life News, who claimed that “every single abortion ban nationwide allows treatment for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and to protect the mother’s life.” The reading of the definition of abortion will likely be up for debate from both sides of the argument.

The Biden administration is now seeking a declaratory judgement that the legislation violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, an order permanently enjoining the law to the extent it conflicts with EMTALA, and an injunction halting the enforcement of the law against healthcare providers who provide the “emergency treatment.”

At the press conference, Garland confirmed that this was part of an effort from the Justice Department to “protect and advance reproductive freedom”:

“We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law, and we will closely scrutinise state abortion laws to ensure that they comply with federal law.”

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the head of the Reproductive Rights Task Force confirmed that it was the “first public example of this work in action”:

“We know that these are frightening and uncertain times for pregnant women and their providers, and the Justice Department, through the Task Force’s work, is committed to doing everything we can to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”

Despite these statements, Garland claimed that the action did not “go around” the judgement of the Supreme Court when they overturned Roe v. Wade. “The Supreme Court has said that each state may make its own decisions with respect to abortion, but so too can the federal government,” he argued:

“Nothing that the Supreme Court said said that the statutes passed by Congress, such as EMTALA, are in any way invalid. It’s quite the opposite. The Supreme Court left it to the people’s representatives. EMTALA is a decision made by the Congress of the United States. The Supremacy Clause is a decision made in the Constitution of the United States. Federal law invalidates state laws that are in direct contradiction. This has really nothing to do with anything that the Supreme Court said, and certainly nothing to do with going around the Supreme Court.”

Idaho is already facing a challenge to its abortion ban from a regional Planned Parenthood group. Idaho’s Supreme Court is expected to hear the first arguments in the case on Wednesday.

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The Justice Department’s lawsuit comes on the same day as voters in Kansas go to the polls to vote on a proposed pro-life amendment to their state’s consitution, the first vote in the nation on the topic since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

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Jack Hadfield
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Jack Hadfield is the Associate Editor at Valiant News. An investigative reporter from the UK, and the director and presenter of "Destination Dover: Migrants in the Channel, his work has appeared in such sites as Breitbart and The Political Insider. You can follow him on Gab @JH, on Telegram @JackHadders, or see his other social media by visiting



  1. Avatar


    August 3, 2022 at 8:08 am

    In the tradition of Eric Holder, Merrick Garland is breaking laws with impunity to advance the Democrat leftist agenda. These Communist, socialist, “progressive” politicos are destroying the USA as a nation of laws and creating a fiat government akin to a banana republic which functions on the whims of its ruler. The USA is being divided by these people and the traditions which have held this country together for centuries are being broken. Democrats are killing America.

    • Avatar

      Sandra Lee Smith

      August 3, 2022 at 1:01 pm

      Rape & incest are 2 instances where murdering the baby just compounds the trauma! The rest are already COVERED! GARLAND needs to read extant laws, & delivery resolves pre-ecclampsia, a 3rd trimester issue, while the VERY RARE ectopics were covered LONG before I was born (I’m in my 8th decade now), & still are! Spontaneous abortions are also covered already. There’s NO basis for a lawsuit; it’s PURE POLITICAL THEATER!

      • Avatar


        August 5, 2022 at 5:05 am

        I believe that as a matter of law, the decision on whether to abort or not in the cases of rape and incest should be left to the woman. I know it’s controversial, and I’m even conflicted over it. Still…

        However, as you rightly say, the rest are already covered. See my comment to Ernst.

        However, I think this is more than political theater. I believe this leftist administration is trying to skirt around the SCOTUS Dobbs Decision and impose its tyrannical will on all States by trying to make an example of Idaho. I pray if fails.

        I might add, my 14 year old daughter was raped by a black criminal in our small backwater town. It’d have been a scandal. However, she came to me and said if she was pregnant, she couldn’t kill the unborn baby. She wanted to know what her mother and I would do. I told her we’d support her and if necessary raise a possible baby as our own. Color didn’t matter. Fortunately, she didn’t get pregnant, but for all of us, an unborn baby wasn’t at fault for the rape.

    • Avatar


      August 5, 2022 at 4:52 am

      You’re quite right. The conditions that the DOJ claims are its grounds for the lawsuit, miscarriage or preeclampsia, would seem to be covered by the Idaho law in order to save the life of a mother.

      What I believe Garland is trying to foist on the States that restrict unlimited abortion is that abortion on demand at any time is necessary to save the life of the mother, a sinister lie.

      If Idaho wins, it should counter-sue the US government to cover costs of it defending itself against tyranny.

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    August 4, 2022 at 1:14 pm

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