Washington attorney general joins coalition challenging Idaho’s near-total abortion ban

Aug 16, 2022, 12:52 PM

A sign reading "My body, my Choice," is taped to a hanger taped to a streetlight in front of the Id...

A sign reading "My body, my Choice," is taped to a hanger taped to a streetlight in front of the Idaho State Capitol Building on May 3, 2022. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled on Friday, Aug. 12, that the state's strict abortion bans will be allowed to take effect while legal challenges over the laws play out in court. (Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman via AP, File) (Sarah A. Miller)

(Sarah A. Miller)

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced he is joining a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing a brief in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit challenging Idaho’s new abortion law.

“We are already seeing a significant influx of Idahoans seeking abortion services in Washington, and that will only increase with this new, restrictive law,” said Ferguson. “What happens in Idaho directly impacts Washington. Not only is Idaho’s near-total ban on abortion wrong, it violates federal law.”

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The Justice Department’s lawsuit argues that the new abortion law in Idaho violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires hospitals to provide emergency care to all patients.

The lawsuit states that Idaho’s law does not include adequate exemptions for cases where “lifesaving care may include abortion care — for example, when a patient is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage or other pregnancy complications,” according to a news release from Ferguson’s office.

Ferguson argues that the law will directly impact Washington’s already strained health care system, as it will likely lead to an influx of patients traveling to the state for abortion care.

“In Eastern Washington, clinics have already reported a massive influx of patients from Idaho: one clinic reported that 78% of its patients in July 2022 were from Idaho (almost double the rate from the prior year), and another clinic reported that it was already fully booked multiple weeks out due to increased demand,” the brief states.

Ferguson’s brief also argues that Idaho’s new law prevents Washingtonians from receiving federally required emergency care if they are in the state as students, workers or visitors.

Idaho’s new abortion law is set to go into effect Aug. 25.

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Washington attorney general joins coalition challenging Idaho’s near-total abortion ban