Health Info, Policy Updates, Press Releases

The NWHN is Discouraged by the Supreme Court’s Decision in Idaho v. United States

Publication Date: June 27, 2024

By: NWHN Staff

Contact Director of Communications Adele Scheiber at [email protected] or by phone at 631 – 538 – 6348 for comments and questions.

The NWHN is discouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Idaho v. United States case, which did not rule that the federal law Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) takes precedence over restrictive state abortion bans, and instead reinstated a lower court injunction that blocked Idaho’s abortion ban.

This decision means that hospitals in Idaho are temporarily required to provide necessary care to stabilize the health of pregnant patients in emergencies, including performing abortions if needed. This decision contributes to the patchwork health care system where access to critical medical services depends on which state you live in. The Supreme Court had the opportunity to make a definitive ruling, but declined to do so at this time.

The ruling also further complicates emergency health care, refusing to give clear guidance to health care providers. By refusing to do so, the Supreme Court hinders the ability to maintain a strong and responsive medical workforce ready to meet the needs of patients in emergencies.

Furthermore, the lack of a decision does not push back against efforts to prioritize fetal rights over the health and autonomy of pregnant individuals. The dissenting opinion, in citing the “unborn child,” attempts to reaffirm the argument of fetal personhood. By not ruling against Idaho, the Supreme Court has furthered a dangerous trend that is undermining reproductive rights and medical autonomy.

At the National Women’s Health Network, we believe this ruling is a temporary relief, but is not cause for celebration. Everyone deserves the same access to emergency care, regardless of state restrictions. It is essential that our health care system prioritizes patient health and follows evidence-based medical practices. We believe that this decision is a significant delay in safeguarding the health and rights of pregnant people across the country.


The National Women’s Health Network, a 501c3 not for profit, represents the health interests of women across the life continuum with an intersectional focus on sexual and reproductive health, maternal health, and the health and well-being of aging women. We work to improve women’s health outcomes through state and federal advocacy, consumer health education, and grassroots technical assistance initiatives. For more information about or programs, services and initiatives and how to donate, visit


Get Involved

New ways to empower health care consumers across the nation.