Democratic President Joe Biden has pledged to do everything possible to protect access to abortion after the United States Supreme Court’s ruling on June 24 that buried the constitutional right of American women to obtain an abortion.
His government filed its first legal action since the High Court turned on this highly sensitive subject by filing a complaint on Tuesday, August 2, against an Idaho state law that prohibits in almost all abortions.
Although the room for maneuver is limited, the Minister of Justice, Merrick Garland, established a unit responsible for evaluating the laws adopted after this decision by the States against abortion. June 24, “We promise to work tirelessly to protect and promote reproductive freedoms, that’s what we’re doing today and we’ll continue to do it,” said Merrick Garland, who asked the court to block the Idaho law.
A very strict law
Idaho, a rural and conservative state in the American West, was one of the first to adopt a new law, which should be implemented on August 25, which allows abortion only to save a woman’s life. Merrick Garland considers this text too restrictive compared to the federal law on medical emergencies that provides for an intervention in case of “serious health hazard” of a pregnant woman.
Garland believes the new Idaho law — which allows lawsuits against doctors — “Will it make it a criminal offense for doctors to provide emergency medical care as required by federal law”. According to the latter, performing an abortion is possible “the treatment necessary to stabilize a patient in the event of a medical emergency”. However, since the decision of the Supreme Court, “there are many reports of postponements, delays, and even denial of treatment to pregnant women in a medical emergency”said Mr. Garland.
The American media gives the example of a woman whose water broke in early pregnancy but had to continue carrying a non-viable embryo until the onset of sepsis, or others who did not receive medical help during the miscarriage.
Family doctor Caitlin Gustafson – who has taken the case to the Idaho Supreme Court – argued that the new Idaho law exception for medical emergencies is vague and impossible to interpret. “It is very difficult, if not impossible, for me to implement the medical exception and provide care to a pregnant person whose life may be at risk”he explained, saying that some serious medical conditions associated with pregnancy such as preeclampsia can lead to death, but it is not guaranteed.
Kansas Abortion Referendum
Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little says the US Supreme Court has given states the ability to regulate abortion, “end of story”. He promised to work with State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to defend the new law.
« The United States Department of Justice’s interference with “pro-life” legislation [en faveur de la vie, par opposition à l’avortement] from Idaho is another example of Biden going too far,” did he declare. Lawrence Wasden, also a Republican, said the complaint was “politically motivated” and said the Justice Department should have been in contact with Idaho within the last six weeks to resolve the issue.
Idaho Democratic Party Chairwoman Lauren Necochea praised the Justice Department’s action, saying the state’s Republican politicians “it is better to allow pregnancy to kill someone than to allow them to have an abortion.”
A dozen states already ban abortions on their soil and, eventually, half of the fifty states will have to do so. A referendum on the subject, Tuesday in Kansas, will take the pulse of public opinion. Moments after the polls closed, Kansas election administrator Scott Schwab said the turnout was at least 50%, a number that was in line with expectations for this type of poll, reported local media. .