The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order Tuesday granting the rehearing of the abortion case United States of America v. State of Idaho. This action, in effect, prevents the enforcement of Section 18-622 of Idaho law which criminalizes those who perform or attempt to perform an abortion, unless carrying the pregnancy to term is likely to result in the death of the mother. Eleven judges will be present to rehear the case.
Tuesday’s order discarded the court’s September order, which allowed the law to go into effect. That action centered on the Biden administration’s argument that the Idaho abortion law violated the federal Examination and Treatment for Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The court explained this federal law does not interfere with Idaho’s law because “Congress enacted EMTALA to respond to the specific problem of hospital emergency rooms refusing to treat patients who were uninsured or who could otherwise not pay for treatment.” With the EMTALA’s limited purpose, the court reasoned it does not affect Idaho’s law.
Last year, the US District Court for the District of Idaho stopped the state from enforcing Section 18-622 because it found the law violated EMTALA.
Recently, Idaho has been embroiled in other abortion-related legal proceedings. In August, a federal judge blocked Idaho’s ban on out-of-state abortion referrals, stating it violates doctors’ right to free speech. That same month, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld the states’s abortion ban and other related laws in response to a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood.