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Mayes joins amicus brief asking U.S. Supreme Court to block Idaho abortion ban

Attorney General Kris Mayes has joined a legal effort asking justices of the U.S. Supreme Court to block a law that prohibits most abortions in Idaho and safeguard emergency abortion care. 

Mayes is one of 24 attorneys general who signed onto an amicus brief that asks the high court to uphold a lower court injunction temporarily blocking an Idaho state law that prohibits all abortions, except those deemed necessary to save the life of the mother.

Idaho’s Defense of Life Act would criminalize anyone who performs an abortion or attempts one, even if the woman’s health is endangered without it. Mayes and the other attorneys general say that goes against a federal law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires hospitals to enact emergency care — including abortion care. The attorneys general argue safeguarding access to the procedures are necessary to protect access to emergency care both in and outside of Idaho.

“Many amici States have experienced a significant rise in out-of-state patients seeking abortion care, including emergency care, following the enactment of restrictive abortion laws. Allowing certain States to 5 undermine EMTALA’s requirements for stabilizing emergency care and protection against patient dumping will force many pregnant patients to travel to amici States for emergency abortion care, further burdening already overwhelmed healthcare systems,” the amicus brief reads.

“Providing medical treatment to additional patients who require emergency abortion care, and who are likely to be facing heightened health risks as a result of being denied such care in their home States, will aggravate these existing healthcare stresses, threatening worse health outcomes for everyone who seeks emergency care.”

In January, the Supreme Court ruled the law was allowed to move forward, but agreed to hear an appeal scheduled for this month.

Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.