As expected. You know where this goes from here.
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked Idaho from enforcing a ban on abortions when pregnant women require emergency care, a day after a judge in Texas ruled against President Joe Biden’s administration on the same issue.
The conflicting rulings came in two of the first lawsuits over Biden’s attempts to keep abortion legal after the conservative majority U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the procedure nationwide.
Legal experts said the dueling rulings in Idaho and Texas could, if upheld on appeal, force the Supreme Court to wade back into the debate.
In Idaho, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice that the abortion ban taking effect Thursday conflicts with a federal law that ensures patients can receive emergency “stabilizing care.”
Winmill, who was appointed to the court by former Democratic President Bill Clinton, issued a preliminary injunction blocking Idaho from enforcing its ban to the extent it conflicts with federal law, citing the threat to patients.
“One cannot imagine the anxiety and fear (a pregnant woman) will experience if her doctors feel hobbled by an Idaho law that does not allow them to provide the medical care necessary to preserve her health and life,” Winmill wrote.
The Justice Department has said the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act requires abortion care in emergency situations.
“Today’s decision by the District Court for the District of Idaho ensures that women in the State of Idaho can obtain the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a written statement.
“The Department of Justice will continue to use every tool at its disposal to defend the reproductive rights protected by federal law,” Garland said. The DOJ has said that it disagrees with the Texas ruling and is considering next legal steps.
See here for the background. TPM goes deeper into the two rulings and also provides copies of them, but the bottom line is that the Texas judge said that the federal guidance went too far, didn’t go through the formal rule-change process (even though it was guidance on an existing rule and not a change), didn’t take the rights of the fetus into account, and could only apply when the mother’s life was in danger, not just when her health was threatened. The Idaho judge didn’t do any of that.
Both rulings will be appealed, and as Idaho is in the more liberal Ninth Circuit, there’s a very good chance that this ruling will be upheld. The same is true for Texas, where the radical and lawless Fifth Circuit will get its paws on it. While it is usually the case that a split in the appellate courts means that SCOTUS will weigh in, it seems possible to me that they will duck the issue, perhaps on the grounds that this is really a dispute over state laws, and since the Texas case applies only to Texas, there’s no need for them to step in. I’m just guessing, I could easily be wrong. We’ll know soon enough. DAily Kos has more.