On August 2, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the nation’s first lawsuit against a state law barring women whose lives are threatened by dangerous pregnancy complications from receiving essential emergency care. . Idaho law makes it a felony for anyone to perform or assist in an abortion, with a minimum sentence of two years in prison. The DOJ said Idaho law “preemptively criminalizes all abortions … even when denial of treatment is likely to result in the patient’s death.”
A doctor could be prosecuted even if the abortion operation was essential to save the life of an emergency room patient. Only by convincing a jury that an abortion was necessary to prevent the death of a pregnant woman, or that rape or incest reported to law enforcement, was the cause of the pregnancy, the doctor could You can escape jail time and license revocation.
DOJ alleges that Idaho law conflicts with a federal law called the Emergency Medical and Labor Act (EMTALA). The EMTALA Act requires hospitals that receive Medicare funds to provide emergency care to people who come to the emergency room with conditions that seriously endanger their health. Emergency conditions include ectopic pregnancies, where women can bleed to death, sepsis, which can lead to organ failure, and dangerous pregnancy complications such as eclampsia, which can be life-threatening. DOJ is seeking a court ruling that the law cannot be applied in an emergency room setting.
The main problem with this law is that it was poorly drafted and hastily drafted without providing well-informed medical information. Little consideration was given to the serious problems that arise for doctors, lawyers, and courts in the interpretation and application of sloppy and vague language.
Raul Labrador, the Republican candidate for Attorney General, is a strong supporter of the law and opposes the emergency room lawsuit. Idaho respects life. Our elected officials in Idaho enacted strong life-protection laws to protect the rights of unborn children. I’m trying to replace it with my priorities. ”
Labrador opponent Tom Arkush replied: The state’s top attorneys must look at cases like this with a clear eye and arrive at a response that will best serve the state and its people. I stated that there is no effective legal defense to this case. Nor are there any moral or ethical defenses against laws that deprive women of emergency care and subject emergency room workers to criminal prosecution. If I were the Attorney General of Idaho, I would negotiate a settlement with the patient’s consent so that emergency room doctors could provide medically necessary care without fear of prosecution.”
On August 25, a judge handed down a ruling that reflected Tom Arkush’s legal analysis of the case. Abortion bans are not enforced in emergency rooms until a judge renders a final ruling on the merits. The judge indicated that DOJ would likely win the case. Idaho citizens can decide for themselves which candidates evaluated this case in a legal, ethical, and common sense manner.
Jim Jones is a Vietnam War veteran who served eight years as Attorney General of Idaho (1983-1991) and 12 years as Judge of the Idaho Supreme Court (2005-2017). He serves as treasurer for his Arkoosh campaign.