Supreme Court Punts on Whether Pregnant People Should Suffer Under Abortion Bans - Alliance for Justice

Supreme Court Punts on Whether Pregnant People Should Suffer Under Abortion Bans

Press Release



Reproductive Rights

Press Contact

Zack Ford

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2024 – Today the Supreme Court issued its decision in the consolidated cases of Moyle v. U.S. and Idaho v. U.S., dismissing the cases as improvidently granted. The Court essentially decided that it was too soon to rule, kicking the cases back down to the lower courts. On the bright side, this will bring back the stay of the law that will protect pregnant people who require life-saving and health-stabilizing abortions in Idaho. Unfortunately, the ambiguity for doctors will persist and the Court will likely have to revisit all these questions — as soon as next year given a similar case out of Texas and an unfortunate ruling from the Fifth Circuit.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) is unambiguous about the importance of providing stabilizing care. As Justice Jackson insists, the case is easily decidable and only more chaos will ensue for patients who can’t receive the care they deserve if doctors are still worried about facing prosecution. Justice Alito’s dissent would misread EMTALA to impose fetal personhood on the nation, all too easily dismissing the life-changing and life-endangering complications that pregnant patients face in these emergency situations. As Jackson concludes: “Today’s decision is not a victory for pregnant patients in Idaho. It is delay.”

Alliance for Justice Vice President of Strategy Keith Thirion issued the following statement:

“When Justice Alito ruled in Dobbs that abortion regulations must be left to the states, he apparently meant that those state regulations can even overrule federal law. He still seems to believe that, and now the nation is left with continued ambiguity because the Court has decided to delay providing clarification even as lives are on the line. No legal reasoning justifies this outcome, so one is left to wonder whether punting this case was a matter of political convenience.

“No one should ever have to face the horror of a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, preeclampsia or other pregnancy complication and wonder if they’re going to lose all their reproductive ability simply because they couldn’t receive an abortion. This Court is apparently fine with it, with three justices even willing to impose fetal personhood right now — the consequences for those facing pregnancy complications be damned. We are relieved that this delay may well save some lives in the short-term, but the Court’s desire to impose a Gilead-like dystopia is as terrifying as ever.”