President Joe Biden’s administration has scored its first legal victory on abortion rights since the US Supreme Court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade case in June.
US District Judge B. Lynn Winmill blocked part of an Idaho law on Wednesday that would have made it illegal to perform an abortion on pregnant patients whose health is at risk.
The law, which will come into effect on Thursday, permits abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is in danger but doesn’t contain an exception allowing abortions where there is a serious risk to health.
The temporary injunction against part of Idaho’s law will be seen as a victory for the Biden administration as it works to protect abortion rights. In June, the Supreme Court found that there is no constitutional protection for abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The Department of Justice had sued the state of Idaho. It argued that the abortion ban violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a federal law that requires Medicare-funded hospitals to provide “stabilizing treatment” to patients, including abortion.
Winmill said in his ruling that the case was not about the right to an abortion but a question of whether state or federal law takes precedence.
“It’s not about the bygone constitutional right to an abortion,” Winmill wrote in his ruling. “This Court is not grappling with that larger, more profound question. Rather, the Court is called upon to address a far more modest issue—whether Idaho’s criminal abortion statute conflicts with a small but important corner of