Statement From URGE on Supreme Court Hearing EMTALA Oral Arguments

April 24, 2024

Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the Moyle v. United States case. This case will decide if Idaho’s extreme abortion ban will supersede the 40-year-old Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Under EMTALA, hospitals are required to provide lifesaving treatment to patients who arrive at the hospital’s ER, but this case could mean a denial of a pregnant person’s medically necessary emergency care.

In response, Kimberly Inez McGuire, Executive Director of URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, said:

Lives are on the line at the Supreme Court again. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) has been working for 40 years, ensuring that pregnant people receive emergency pregnancy and abortion care when they need it. But now, anti-abortion extremists are trying to exclude pregnant people from EMTALA’s long-standing protections, and young people will be among those most impacted by a denial of medically necessary care.

“This is yet another attempt to ban access to life-saving abortion care nationwide. Since the Dobbs decision overturned Roe almost two years ago, we’ve witnessed the most calculated and egregious attacks from courts and anti-abortion politicians in statehouses nationwide – and this one is no different. 

“If hospitals in Idaho and other states where abortion is illegal can deny access to emergency abortion care, people will die. Speaking as someone who has experienced both pregnancy complications and a miscarriage, it’s horrifying to think anyone could show up at the ER and be denied life-saving care in those harrowing moments. No one should face that extra burden when experiencing an emergency.

“This case is part of a bigger and scary agenda: Conservative politicians want to force us to be pregnant against our will, and they are willing to let women suffer and die to score points with their base. It’s disgusting.

“Young people are the most heavily and disproportionately impacted by abortion bans and other attacks on reproductive care, especially Black, immigrant and trans folks. 

“The American people are watching and will reject this attempt to deny emergency care to people who need it – just as voters in Kansas, Ohio and elsewhere have rejected abortion bans. If the Court allows this abuse of human rights to go forward, they only call into question their own relevance. 

“To the anti-abortion extremists behind this case, the Mife case we heard earlier this spring, and the abortion bans in Arizona, Florida and elsewhere: We see what you’re doing, and we are going to keep fighting you every step of the way.”