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Supreme Court officially allows emergency abortions in Idaho one day after leaked opinion

An abortion rights supporter holds a placard on the day the Supreme Court justices hear oral arguments over the legality of Idaho's Republican-backed, near-total abortion ban in medical-emergency situations, at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2024. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in Idaho's strict abortion ban

The Supreme Court on Thursday officially affirmed a lower court injunction that allows abortions in medical emergencies to continue in Idaho, one day after inadvertently posting the opinion briefly before scrubbing it.

Technically the case will go back to a lower court for further evaluation, but the decision by the high court ensures that Idaho doctors can continue to perform emergency abortions for the time being.

The move drew criticism from both ends of the ideological spectrum on the Supreme Court, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and Samuel Alito wanting the high court to make a decision based on the merits of the case, albeit with those two justices reaching different conclusions.

At issue in the Idaho case is the extent to which federal law trumps state law on abortion.

The Biden administration argued that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) supersedes Idaho’s abortion ban — which has a carveout for the life of the mother — in emergency situations.

EMTALA, which was passed in 1986, mandates that emergency rooms that receive Medicare payments provide “necessary stabilizing treatment” for dire conditions.

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