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Washington, DC/United States - May 21, 2019: Pro-life abortion protest on the steps of the Supreme Court after states sought to pass restrictive "heart beat" abortion laws.
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Special Edition: Emergency Abortion Care at SCOTUS

April 24, 2024

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Today, on April 24, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will determine the future of emergency abortion care. At issue in the case of Idaho v. United States is whether or not doctors in states where abortion is banned have to continue to deny abortion care—even in emergency settings—despite the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), which requires all hospitals to provide life saving and medically stabilizing health care to anyone who shows up at their emergency room.

Currently, medical providers in Idaho can only perform an abortion in the event that the pregnant person will imminently die without one. Even if a pregnant person will incur permanent disability or undue harm to their life without an abortion, the procedure is still banned. As you can imagine, these two laws have put doctors in a precarious position in Idaho. The circumstances are even more dire for pregnant patients in the state, particularly those with disabilities. Disabled pregnant people are far more likely to necessitate this kind of care than their non-disabled peers, as most disabled pregnant folks already have high risk pregnancies.

Disabled people know all too well the risks of not accessing care when it's needed, and the hardship, pain, and suffering that can escape the claw of “imminent death.” So, today we're talking about the intersection of disability and abortion rights, in regard to this case and more broadly.

Joining me to discuss this is Dr. Robyn Powell, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, specializing in disability and family law. She's also a co-investigator at the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities.

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