Supreme Court Order Will Allow For Emergency Abortions In Idaho — Update

UPDATE: A Supreme Court order will allow emergency abortions to continue in Idaho despite a strict new state law.

The order, released today, is not a surprise: A document inadvertently posted to the court’s website on Wednesday was spotted by Bloomberg News, which reported on the pending decision.

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The 6-3 ruling will allow for emergency abortions to continue in Idaho, despite a state law that restricted the procedure, even when a mother’s health was threatened. But the order was largely a procedural one in what is likely to be a lengthier legal proceeding. The broader question of when doctors can perform abortions during medical emergencies, despite a strict state law, was left unresolved.

Read the Supreme Court’s abortion order.

The court’s order dismisses the case, reversing an earlier ruling that had granted certiorari and allowed for the implementation of the Idaho law. Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the effect of the court’s action is to “prevent Idaho from enforcing its abortion ban when the termination of a pregnancy is needed to prevent serious harms to a woman’s health.”

The case was closely watched, as Joe Biden has championed abortion rights amid a backlash to the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe Vs. Wade.

In a statement, Biden said, “No woman should be denied care, made to wait until she’s near death, or forced to flee her home state just to receive the health care she needs. This should never happen in America. Yet, this is exactly what is happening in states across the country since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.”

In a campaign statement, Vice President Kamala Harris said, “This ruling does not change the fact that women across the country are being turned away from emergency rooms and denied needed reproductive care because of Donald Trump’s abortion bans.”

The court did not issue a ruling in what is perhaps the closest watched case of the term: Whether Donald Trump has any kind of immunity from prosecution from federal charges related to his efforts to remain in power after the 2020 presidential election. Additional opinions will be released on Friday, and there is also a possibility of more next week.

Biden and Trump will meet for a debate this evening — their first face-to-face encounter since a debate in October, 2020.

PREVIOUSLY: A document inadvertently posted to the Supreme Court’s website appears to have revealed that a majority of justices were poised to at least temporarily allow for exceptions to Idaho’s strict abortion ban.

Bloomberg News reported on the brief posting of the ruling, which would let stand a lower court ruling that prevents the law from immediately going into affect, thus allowing for the termination of pregnancies “to prevent serious harms to a woman’s health,” according to a concurring opinion from Justice Elena Kagan. The justices’ apparent 6-3 decision was on an appeal from the state of Idaho on a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that sided with the Biden administration against the Gem State legislation.

Patricia McCabe, spokesperson for the Supreme Court, said in a statement, “The opinion in Moyle v. United States, No. 23-726, and Idaho v. United States, No. 23-727, has not been released. The Court’s Publications Unit inadvertently and briefly uploaded a document to the Court’s website. The Court’s opinion in these cases will be issued in due course.”

The Supreme Court is in the midst of releasing its final batch of rulings from its current term, with more opinions scheduled to be revealed on Thursday and Friday. One of the highest profile is on the question of whether President Donald Trump has immunity from prosecution on charges that he conspired to remain in power after the 2020 presidential election.

In 2022, Politico posted a leaked ruling from the court showing that the justices were poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which they eventually did. A subsequent investigation by the court failed to find who was behind the leak of the ruling, a rare breach of protocol.

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