'It is physicians in the room with the patient, not lawmakers': Medical groups oppose Idaho abortion law

Ten medical organizations have come out in support of the Justice Department's lawsuit against Idaho that opposes the state's near-total abortion ban.

On Aug. 15, the organizations — including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — filed an amicus brief that argues Idaho's restrictions are inconsistent with federal law, medical ethics and legal and clinical standards for emergency medicine.

The Idaho law, scheduled to go into effect Aug. 25, will criminalize abortion unless rape or incest is proven in a police report, or the mother's life is in danger. Performing an abortion outside these circumstances would be a felony. 

The brief calls this "unworkable in an emergency setting," as there is no consistent clinical guideline for when a situation becomes life threatening. 

"It is physicians in the room with the patient, not lawmakers or courts, who are uniquely equipped to make these decisions," the brief said. "They cannot be expected, and should not be compelled, to delay stabilizing treatment until a legislatively imagined but medically nonexistent line has been crossed."

Other contributors to the brief were the National Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Public Health Association, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, National Hispanic Medical Association, American College of Emergency Physicians and the Idaho chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. 

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