Supreme Court Rules Red State Abortion Ban Can Stay In Effect

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that Idaho’s abortion ban could remain in effect and agreed to take up the case in April.

The request for a stay came from Republican Attorney General Raúl Labrador, who filed a petition with Justice Elena Kagan on Nov. 26 asking her to overturn a lower court’s decision to bar the state from enforcing its law. Kagan wrote in the order that the request for a stay had been granted until the court heard the case in April.

“The preliminary injunction issued on August 24, 2022, by the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, case No. 1:22-cv-00329, is stayed,” Kagan wrote. “The applications for stay are also treated as petitions for writs of certiorari before judgment, and the petitions are granted on the question presented in Idaho’s application.”

Both parties will have an hour to argue their cases to the court, according to the order.

Idaho’s trigger law banned all abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Idaho that same year, arguing that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which prevents hospitals from turning away emergency patients, required doctors to perform abortions and that the state’s law would force doctors to violate a federal statute.

In 2023, the state legislature passed another law that created a limited exception for saving the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a similar lawsuit by the state of Texas that abortion is not mandated in EMTALA and does not override the state’s law.

The Supreme Court also announced in December that it would also take on a case involving the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone.

Kate Anderson on January 5, 2024

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