Justice Department files 1st post-Roe lawsuit over abortion access

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Idaho over the state's abortion restrictions.

The lawsuit, announced in an Aug. 2 news release, is the first the Justice Department has filed to protect abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to the procedure June 24, according to The New York Times

At issue is Idaho's state abortion law set to take effect Aug. 25. The Justice Department argues the law that would impose a near-total abortion ban conflicts with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act in situations where an abortion is needed to stabilize the health of a woman in a medical emergency.

"We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the release. "And we will closely scrutinize state abortion laws to ensure that they comply with federal law."

The Idaho law allows abortions to prevent the death of a pregnant patient, but it does not have a provision to allow the procedure when necessary to protect the health of the individual, the Justice Department said. Under the Idaho law, abortions also are permitted if, before an abortion, the pregnant patient reported a case of rape or incest against them to authorities.

The Justice Department aims to stop Idaho from prosecuting emergency room healthcare workers who assist with abortions in medical emergencies, according to The New York Times

Idaho Gov. Brad Little issued a statement after the lawsuit was announced, saying the Supreme Court "returned the issue of abortion to the states to regulate — end of story," and that the Justice Department's "interference with Idaho's pro-life law is another example of Biden overreaching yet again."

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