© 2022 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Republican leaders want judge to reconsider abortion injunction

Idaho abortion rally
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Hundreds of pro-abortion rights activists marched through downtown Boise Saturday, May 14, 2022 following a rally in front of the Idaho Capitol.

Idaho lawmakers are asking a federal judge to reconsider his injunction blocking a narrow piece of the state’s near-total abortion ban issued late last month.

Lawyers for the Idaho legislature filed the motion late Wednesday night. In it, they say Judge Lynn Winmill failed to properly read a federal law on which he based his decision.

Since Idaho’s near-total abortion ban doesn’t include exceptions when a pregnancy seriously threatens the health of the mother, Winmill said it conflicted with a federal statue regulating emergency rooms.

Hospitals that receive Medicare funding are required to treat people with emergency medical conditions.

But the legislature says that federal law defines an emergency medical condition as one that places the health of an individual – or that of an unborn child – in serious jeopardy.

Lawmakers say the Biden administration purposefully left out that section including the fetus in its legal filings to score political points.

They point to a recent ruling from a federal judge in Texas regarding the same law in which the opinion found "no direct conflict" with that state's legal code. Texas, however, does include exceptions for legal abortions in cases of ectopic pregnancies — something Idaho does not.

"Some of Idaho’s preborn children may well die as a consequence of the Idaho Order as now written," attorneys for the Idaho legislature wrote.

"The people of Idaho enjoy constitutional authority to govern themselves with respect to abortion, and no federal statute, however overread by an Administration committed to countering Dobbs, can lawfully diminish that authority."

The Department of Justice has yet to respond. Idaho’s near-total abortion ban is otherwise in effect as several lawsuits are ongoing.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!