Biden administration argues Supreme Court for access to abortion in red-state emergency rooms

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President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday defended a move to require emergency room doctors to provide a stabilizing care to pregnant patients and perform abortions in some circumstances, even if the procedure is illegal in the state where they practice.

Last year in reponse to overturning Rode v. Wade, the administration guidance is being challenged at the Supreme Court by Republicans in Idaho in a case that experts say could affect emergency rooms across the nation that are grappling with uncertainty about what the doctors are allowed to do and what not allowed to under the law.

Idaho is asking the Supreme Court to make it law that prohibits the doctors from performing an abortion unless the physician instructs that the mother’s life is at stake. However, Biden administration asks for a separate federal law that facilitates emergency rooms to provide “stabilizing care” including abortions, for a broader range of circumstances than a mother’s life, such as if a patient’s health is in “serious jeopardy.”

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In its brief the government explained that a woman can experience severe medical conditions during pregnancy that would not be covered by the exception of life of mother, which includes sepsis, loss of fertility, kidney failure, and uncontrollable bleeding.