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DOJ is suing to make sure women who need medically necessary abortions can actually get them

Vox: “A month after the Supreme Court’s decision overruling Roe v. Wade, it’s unclear whether many patients with dangerous pregnancies can receive medically necessary abortions. Some women have traveled to other states for lifesaving care because doctors in their home state feared prosecution. Others were left to bleed by their health care providers who feared they couldn’t legally provide care that would stop it. A lawsuit, filed by the Justice Department on Tuesday, could alleviate at least some of these cases — and potentially provide legal clarity to doctors who want to perform medically necessary abortions but fear being hauled off to prison if they do. The case is United States v. Idaho. The suit involves the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which typically requires emergency rooms at hospitals that accept Medicare funds to provide “stabilizing treatment” for patients with medical emergencies. The DOJ argues in its suit that EMTALA requires these hospitals to perform an abortion if one is medically required to save a patient’s life or prevent serious bodily harm. This law could matter in quite a few states — at least 22 states have laws on the books banning many or nearly all abortions — but it is particularly relevant in Idaho, where an unusually strict abortion ban will take effect on August 25. That ban provides, with only narrow exceptions, that “every person who performs or attempts to perform an abortion … commits the crime of criminal abortion.”..

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