May 2024 Church & State Magazine - May 2024

AU urges Supreme Court to protect access to emergency abortion care


Americans United has joined more than 100 reproductive rights, civil rights, religious and other social-justice organizations in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requires Idaho hospitals to provide stabilizing abortion care to pregnant patients seeking treatment during medical emergencies.

In an amicus brief filed on March 28 in the consolidated cases Moyle v. U.S. and Idaho v. U.S., Americans United and allied groups stressed that EMTALA guarantees everyone the right to emergency medical treatment nationwide, including pregnant people who may require abortion care to stabilize emergency medical conditions.

Idaho’s abortion ban directly conflicts with this nearly 40-year-old federal law, the restrictive state law endangering the health and lives of pregnant people, especially Black, Indigenous and other people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people working to make ends meet and others who already face excessive barriers to health care.

The brief was spearheaded by the National Women’s Law Center. Other organizations joining the brief include American Federation of Teachers, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, National Education Association, National LGBTQ Task Force, People For the American Way Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America) and many others.

“No one in America should be denied emergency medical care because of someone else’s beliefs,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United. “Our Constitution’s promise of church-state separation means that all of us must be free to make our own decisions about our own bodies based on our own beliefs.

“Abortion is a fundamental right that is essential to our health, equality and freedom. But religious extremists in Idaho and across the nation are violating the separation of church and state by banning abortion and enshrining one narrow religious viewpoint into our law,” Laser added. “We knew that the end of Roe signaled the beginning of a new wave of attacks on abortion rights and reproductive health care. That’s why we need a national recommitment to the separation of church and state. It’s the shield that protects freedom without favor and equality without exception for all of us.”

Congress needs to hear from you!

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

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