Houston, Texas — Harris County has joined a nationwide fight for emergency access to abortion care, signing on to an amicus brief siding with the United States Justice Department in United States v. Idaho, currently pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The suit challenges a state law in Idaho that imposes a near-total ban on abortion and conflicts with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, a federal law requiring hospitals that receive Medicare funding to provide emergency treatment.
“Extreme abortion restrictions across the country have forced women to wait until they are near death to get healthcare. Idaho has made it a felony to perform abortions in nearly all circumstances, clearly violating federal law,” said Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee. “Pregnant women should be able to receive the emergency medical treatment they are entitled to under federal law, no matter what state they live in. Harris County has a vested interest in protecting public health for all people, and delaying critical medical care could have dire complications.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has previously reaffirmed that EMTALA requires providers to offer necessary stabilizing care for patients suffering emergency medical conditions, which might include abortion care in certain situations.