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Statement by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure on United States Suit Against State of Idaho Over Emergency Abortion Care Services

Without Injunctive Relief, Idaho Law Will Violate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, Which Protects Pregnant Women’s Right to Emergency Medical Care

Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure issued the following statements on the United States’ lawsuit against the state of Idaho. The suit alleges that Idaho’s anti-abortion law, which will go into effect at the end of August, directly conflicts with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent enforcement of the law in situations where an abortion is necessary stabilizing treatment for an emergency medical condition.

Secretary Xavier Becerra: “Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live. Women should not have to be near death to get care. The Department of Health and Human Services will continue its work with the Department of Justice to enforce federal law protecting access to health care, including abortions.”

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure: “Everyone should have access to the health care they need — especially in an emergency. Under federal law, providers in emergency situations are required to provide stabilizing care to someone with an emergency medical condition, including abortion care if necessary, regardless of the state where they live. I’m glad that the Department of Justice is taking steps to enforce this critical law, based on our referral.”

Read the Secretary’s letter to health care providers making clear that EMTALA preempts state law that prohibits abortion as a stabilizing treatment.

Read the EMTALA guidance HHS issued to ensure that hospitals provide all patients — including pregnant women and others experiencing pregnancy loss — with the full protections for emergency medical care under EMTALA.

File an EMTALA complaint by contacting your state’s survey agency.

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