Debevoise Files Amicus Brief in Fight Against Idaho Abortion Law

16 August 2022

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho on behalf of ten leading medical organizations in their fight against Idaho’s near-total ban on abortion. The brief argues that Idaho’s law directly interferes with the Emergency Medical Treatment & Active Labor Act (EMTALA) – a federal law that ensures all patients in emergency settings receive medical treatment based on their individual health care needs – and supports the U.S. Department of Justice’s challenge to Idaho’s new abortion law.

The brief explains some of the contexts in which Idaho’s law conflicts with EMTALA, including an example of when a patient’s pregnancy presents urgent risks to the pregnant patient’s life or health, but the Idaho law would prevent medically indicated care that includes terminating the pregnancy. The brief also argues that by criminalizing necessary, medically indicated care in emergency situations, the Idaho law will have “devastating consequences for patients.” By forcing physicians to delay or forgo care that they have been trained for and are ethically required to provide, the Idaho law creates substantial risks for patients and physicians alike.

The brief was filed on behalf of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Idaho Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the National Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Public Health Association. The organizations are represented by the firm and Democracy Forward.

The Debevoise team is led by litigation partner Shannon Rose Selden and associates Adam Aukland-Peck and Leah Martin.