(WASHINGTON)—The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit that challenges Idaho’s restrictive abortion law, arguing that it conflicts with a federal law requiring doctors to provide pregnant women medically necessary treatment that could include abortion.
The federal government brought the suit seeking to invalidate the state’s “criminal prohibition on providing abortions as applied to women suffering medical emergencies,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
It is the Justice Department’s first major challenge to a state law that triggers abortion since June’s Supreme Court decision in Roe V. Wade. The court’s decision has led some states to enact restrictive abortion laws and is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states in the U.S.
The Justice Department brought the suit because federal prosecutors believe Idaho’s law would force doctors to violate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, a federal law that requires anyone coming to a medical facility for emergency treatment to be stabilized and treated, Garland said.
“Idaho’s law would make it a criminal offense for doctors to provide the emergency medical treatment that federal law requires,” Garland said.
Idaho is like other Republican-led states with several anti-abortion legislation. The result has created a legal mess after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark case on abortion rights.
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