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Idaho Gov Vows to Defend Pro-Life Law After Justice Department Files 'Politically Motivated' Lawsuit

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging Idaho's law banning most abortions, which is set to take effect on Aug 25.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland claims the measure violates federal law and says it stands in the way of "providing stabilizing care and treatment to anyone who needs it."

"On the day Roe and Casey were overturned, we promised that the Justice Department would work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom," said Garland. 

Idaho's law permits the procedure if the mother's life is at risk or in cases of rape and incest after the attack had been reported to law enforcement.

The Justice Department further explained that the state's abortion restriction would force doctors to violate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). This legislation requires that anyone who arrives at an emergency medical facility must receive stabilizing treatment.

"Federal law is clear. Patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live," stated HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "Women should not have to be near death to get care. The Department of Health and Human Services will continue its work with the Department of Justice to enforce federal law protecting access to health care, including abortions."

Gov. Brad Little (R-ID) said the U.S. Supreme Court authorized states to regulate abortion, "end of story." Little says he would work with the Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to defend the law.

"The U.S. Justice Department's interference with Idaho's pro-life law is another example of Biden overreaching yet again," Little said in a statement. "We are proud that we have led the country in protecting preborn lives."

AG Wasden noted that the lawsuit was "politically motivated," adding that the Justice Department should have contacted Idaho earlier to address the issue. 

"Instead of complying with the requirements of this provision," Wasden said of EMTALA, "or even attempting to engage Idaho in a meaningful dialogue on the issue, the federal government has chosen to waste taxpayer dollars on an unnecessary lawsuit." 

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