NEW: Supreme Court Posts And Quickly DELETES Draft Of Major Opinion


After a brief appearance of an opinion on the Supreme Court’s website, it appears the justices are set to uphold provisions for emergency abortions in Idaho when a woman’s health is at risk.

The 22-page unsigned document, which Bloomberg News first reported on, indicated the case was “dismissed as improvidently granted.” The decision would maintain a lower federal court’s ruling that had temporarily halted Idaho’s near-total abortion ban, allowing hospitals to perform necessary emergency abortions to protect the mother’s health.

The Supreme Court recently posted and deleted the draft opinion regarding two cases: Moyle v. United States and Idaho v. United States, which delve into the conflict between the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and Idaho’s pro-life abortion law. The draft opinion revealed deep divisions within the Court over whether EMTALA mandates abortions in certain medical emergencies, preempting state laws that are more restrictive.

Spokeswoman Patricia McCabe explained, “The court’s publications unit inadvertently and briefly uploaded a document to the court’s website.” She further assured that the court’s opinion in Moyle v. United States and Idaho v. United States will be issued in due course.

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The New York Times reported:

If the document reflects a final decision by the Supreme Court, it would be the second time that the justices have deflected ruling on the merits of abortion this term. The opinion on Wednesday suggested that the justices would not rule on the substance of the case — a clash between Idaho’s near-total ban on abortion and a federal law that requires emergency care — but simply say that women could retain access to emergency abortions as the case works its way through the courts.

This month, the justices sidestepped ruling on the merits of a bid by a group of anti-abortion medical organizations and doctors to curtail the availability of a common abortion drug used in a majority of abortions in the country.

In that case, F.D.A. v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the justices found that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the challenge to start, preserving widespread access to the drug.

The apparent publication of the opinion in the Idaho abortion case, coming amid the frenzied final days of the term, echoed the chaos two years ago after a draft opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned a constitutional right to abortion, leaked.

In the per curiam decision, the Court dismissed the writs of certiorari as improvidently granted, vacating earlier stays. Justice Kagan, concurring, noted that Idaho’s law prohibits abortions unless necessary to prevent a woman’s death, with no exceptions for serious health risks, whereas EMTALA requires hospitals to provide necessary care, including abortions, to stabilize medical emergencies.

The Federal Government had sued Idaho, arguing that EMTALA preempts Idaho’s law in cases where an abortion is necessary to prevent severe health consequences. The lower courts had issued a preliminary injunction to this effect, allowing women to obtain emergency abortions, which Idaho contested.

Justice Barrett, concurring with the judgment, highlighted the evolving legal interpretations and the need for further examination by lower courts. “We granted certiorari before judgment in these cases to decide whether the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) preempts a provision of Idaho law that prohibits abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother,” she wrote. “Since this suit began in the District Court, Idaho law has significantly changed – twice. And since we granted certiorari, the parties’ litigating positions have rendered the scope of the dispute unclear, at best.”

Justice Jackson criticized the Court for failing to resolve the clear conflict between state and federal law, emphasizing that EMTALA requires stabilizing treatments, including abortions, when necessary to prevent serious health risks. Justice Alito, dissenting, argued that EMTALA does not require abortions and supported Idaho’s stance that federal law does not preempt its abortion restrictions.

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