Op-Ed: Idaho is Committed to Protecting Life

by Raúl Labrador

On Thursday, the Supreme Court returned the Biden administration’s case against Idaho, State of Idaho v. United States of America, to the 9th Circuit after my office won significant concessions from the United States that Justice Barrett described as ‘important’ and ‘critical.’ The Biden administration’s change in position that EMTALA will rarely override Idaho’s Defense of Life Act prompted the Supreme Court to ask the 9th Circuit to review the issues in light of the federal government’s significant shift.

I agree with Justice Alito that it is “regrettable” that the Court didn’t reach the merits in our case. Be that as it may, “the underlying issue in this case—whether EMTALA requires hospitals to perform abortions in some circumstances—is a straightforward question of statutory interpretation.”  EMTALA does not preempt Idaho’s law because, at the very least, the two laws are perfectly consistent. We fully expect to prevail on the merits in this case.

The Court’s landmark ruling in Dobbs clearly allowed states to protect the sanctity of life for unborn children. Thankfully, the Court today said that Idaho may continue to enforce our law and save lives in nearly every situation while the litigation continues.

While the Biden administration—which will do anything it can to promote an extreme abortion agenda—will continue to repeat its same tired talking points, trying to paint Idaho’s Defense of Life Act as dangerous for women by suggesting that air lifting mothers to medical facilities in neighboring states is necessary as a result of doctors’ hands being tied by our law. But the facts have come out, and those claims are simply not true.

So, since you likely won’t get the truth from the mainstream media or from our executive branch, let me do you a favor and set the record straight: today’s decision is a blow to the Biden administration’s radical misinterpretation of federal law. The DOJ should see the writing on the wall and dismiss its meritless case now. The case is headed back to the Ninth Circuit where Idaho has major concessions in hand from the Biden administration. Importantly, while the remaining litigation plays out, the Court said that Idaho’s ability to enforce its law and save lives will remain “almost entirely intact” as the case proceeds.

This is good news for women and their unborn children as the Biden administration, under the guise of caring about “pregnant people,” has consistently put the abortion industry’s bottom line and financial interests above women’s health, human dignity, and the sacredness of each and every life. I’m happy to call its bluff.

After Dobbs was decided, the Biden administration magically found a provision in the federal law EMTALA to force emergency room doctors to perform abortions. And despite being backed into a corner and having to walk back its novel interpretation so much that the case has to go back to the lower courts, the fact remains that the administration pulled this rule out of thin air to push its radical agenda of abortion on-demand up until the moment of birth.

EMTALA requires the opposite of what the Biden administration is claiming; it requires that doctors treat the mother and her “unborn child[ren].” It’s time for our country to start honoring and cherishing the incredible power and contributions of motherhood, not pitting mothers against their children—and I’m proud to defend Idaho’s decision to do exactly this.

Idaho’s law allows doctors to treat women in all emergency situations according to their best and good faith medical judgment. Women’s health and well-being is protected under Idaho law, and I will continue to talk with hospital administrators and emergency room doctors to ensure there is absolutely no uncertainty or confusion that the law expects they will do all they can to save women’s lives.

So, we will continue to enforce our law in the vast majority of circumstances. Our stand for human dignity continues. Even if government officials are bent on radical abortion agendas, pro-life Americans are just as motivated—if not more—to protect the unborn and their mothers. That includes my office. The people of Idaho elected me to uphold and defend our laws, and I will do everything I can to stand up for laws that hold that all life is precious and worth protecting.

This op-ed originally ran on Fox News on July 1, 2024