The Guttmacher Institute Joins Amicus Brief Calling on the US Supreme Court to Protect Abortion Care in Emergency Situations

Amicus Brief Emphasizes the Safety and Importance of Stabilizing Abortion Care for all Pregnant Patients

The Guttmacher Institute has joined a powerful amicus brief calling on the US Supreme Court to affirm that the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requires stabilizing abortion care. For decades, EMTALA has ensured meaningful access to emergency health care for everyone, including pregnant patients in labor, pregnant patients who have emergency conditions unrelated to labor and patients who need emergency treatment to prevent pregnancy loss.  

On April 24, the Court will hear a case on whether the state of Idaho can ignore EMTALA and enforce its total abortion ban even when an abortion is needed to stabilize a patient. 

"EMTALA’s importance has only increased as the United States reckons with a health care crisis in the wake of the Dobbs decision, yet Idaho lawmakers are intent on removing protections for pregnant people,” says Destiny Lopez, acting co-CEO of the Guttmacher Institute. “At its core, this decision will reflect who we are as a society. Are we okay with requiring pregnant individuals who face severe complications to suffer life-threatening health consequences rather than granting them access to abortion? The Supreme Court needs to recognize that EMTALA is there to protect the health and life of any pregnant person needing an abortion in a medical emergency.” 

Excerpt from amicus brief: 

“Accepting Idaho’s reading of EMTALA—which distorts the statutory text beyond reason and recognition—would deepen the United States’ maternal health crisis, particularly for Black, Indigenous, immigrant, rural, and low-income communities. It would decimate treatment options for patients experiencing pregnancy-related emergencies and accelerate the exodus of healthcare providers from areas that are already considered pregnancy-care deserts, making even routine pregnancy care harder to find. Amici urge the Court to reject Petitioners’ atextual reading of EMTALA and prevent the catastrophic consequences that would flow from it.” 

About the Guttmacher Institute 

 The Guttmacher Institute is a leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide. The Institute generates data and analysis to defend and advance people’s ability to access the full range of sexual and reproductive health care—including safe, legal and affordable abortion care—with a particular focus on addressing historical and ongoing oppressions due to race, gender, sexuality, income, age or immigration status.