Attorney General Mayes Takes Action to Protect Access to Emergency Abortion Care

PHOENIX — Attorney General Kris Mayes today joined efforts to safeguard Americans' access to abortion care during medical emergencies. As part of a multistate coalition of 24 attorneys general, Attorney General Mayes filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in Idaho v. U.S. and Moyle v. U.S., urging the court to maintain a preliminary injunction that required Idaho hospitals to provide emergency abortion care consistent with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).

In the brief, the coalition explains that abortion care has always been considered emergency care under EMTALA and applying Idaho’s abortion ban in circumstances qualifying as emergencies under EMTALA harms both Idaho residents, as well as students, workers, or visitors in Idaho as well as heath systems generally.

“Access to emergency abortion care is critical for the health and safety of patients facing medical emergencies,” said Attorney General Mayes. “Emergency medical decisions should be guided by the needs of the patient, not restrictive anti-abortion laws. Hospitals must be able to provide necessary care in emergencies, protecting both patients and healthcare providers under federal law.”

Every hospital in the United States with an emergency department that participates in Medicare is subject to EMTALA. Under the law, emergency rooms are required to provide all patients who have an emergency medical condition with the treatment required, including administering abortion care, to stabilize a patient’s condition. The Idaho law at issue, however, criminalizes abortion care in nearly all situations, including when a pregnant patient experiences an emergency medical condition and requires an abortion to prevent serious harm to their health.

In the brief, Attorney General Mayes and the coalition of 24 attorneys general explain that denying patients emergency abortion care harms pregnant patients and endangers their lives. The coalition also noted that preventing physicians from providing emergency abortion care burdens healthcare systems in other states and can create a public health crisis.

This brief is the third one filed in U.S. v. Idaho, after a similar brief was filed in August 2022 in support of the United States’ motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent Idaho’s near total ban on abortion from eliminating necessary emergency abortion care, and in September 2023 urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to affirm the district court’s preliminary injunction ruling. The coalition has also filed similar briefs in litigation involving EMTALA’s application to Texas’s abortion ban.

Joining Attorney General Mayes in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.