Oregon Right to Life Responds After US Supreme Court Dismisses Idaho Abortion Case

Ashley Sadler

Communications Director

Salem, Ore. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday decided 6–3 to dismiss the Moyle v. United States case concerning whether Idaho’s pro-life law conflicts with a federal statute dealing with emergency medical care. 

The Court dismissed the writs of certiorari in the case as “improvidently granted,” sending the issue back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, from which an injunction against Idaho’s pro-life law in has once again taken effect. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

In Moyle, the Biden administration argued that the 1986 federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) superseded Idaho’s robust pro-life law in emergency situations, where, they argued, abortion can be necessary as “stabilizing care.” 

Idaho has argued that the EMTALA doesn’t conflict with its pro-life law and that the state already distinguishes between necessary (and fully legal) medical interventions and unlawful abortions deliberately intended to end innocent unborn lives.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to send the case back to the lower courts leaves the ultimate resolution to be determined in the future. An injunction against Idaho’s pro-life law will once again take effect, but Justice Amy Coney Barrett has noted that the state’s “ability to enforce its law remains almost entirely intact.”

“While we had hoped for a definitive pro-life victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in the Moyle case, we’re grateful for the Court’s analysis and optimistic that the matter will be resolved in Idaho’s favor in the lower courts,” Oregon Right to Life executive director Lois Anderson said.

“As Justice Barrett noted in her concurring opinion, Idaho won substantial concessions from the Biden administration during the arguments, and will now be able to continue enforcing its pro-life law in almost all circumstances as litigation continues,” Anderson continued. “Idaho already explicitly protects doctors who carry out legitimately necessary procedures in good faith.”

“Oregon Right to Life will continue to closely watch this case as it heads to the lower courts for further litigation,” Anderson said. “We hope the lower courts will join us in affirming Idaho’s right to create meaningful laws that treat both the mother and her unborn child as patients worthy of care and respect.”

Oregon Right to Life believes in the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. Abortion ends the life of a genetically distinct, growing human being. We oppose abortion at any point of gestation. In rare cases, a mother may have a life threatening condition in which medical procedures intended to treat the condition of the mother may result in the unintended death of her preborn baby. At the same time, ORTL recognizes that modern medical practice has and will continue to increase the ability to save both the life of the mother and the baby. Read this and all of our position statements here.


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