Supreme Court to Weigh In on Emergency Healthcare Protections for Pregnant Mothers

Pregnant woman's belly closeup with a baby inside, conceptual motherhood image

( – Stories are cropping up around the nation regarding pregnant mothers experiencing denial of services at emergency rooms in states where abortion laws have increased penalties for doctors who perform pregnancy-terminating procedures. One woman had a miscarriage in a Texas ER lobby bathroom after being denied admittance by the staff at the front desk. Another woman in Florida discovered too late that her baby’s heart wasn’t beating after being turned away from the hospital the day prior by security.

The Associated Press is revealing an uptick in complaints regarding the treatment of pregnant women at hospitals across the country in the fallout of the 2022 Dobbs decision which overturned Roe v. Wade.

The incidents highlight the need for more guidance when it comes to medical practitioners dealing with miscarriages and other pregnancy complications. Amelia Huntsberger is a practicing OB/GYN in Oregon and she said it was “inconceivable” that someone is denied care at an emergency room.

Federal laws on the books already mandate the treatment of women in active labor or assist in relocating the patient to a facility that has adequate facilities should they be lacking. All medical facilities that accept Medicare must comply with the law. However, many doctors fear legal repercussions if they are suspected of ending a pregnancy prematurely, as it is sometimes difficult to prove the cause of a miscarriage or stillbirth.

The Supreme Court heard arguments on April 24th that will challenge some of those protections. The Biden administration is suing the state of Idaho regarding its ban on the practice of abortion. The Idaho ban is incredibly strict; it’s an almost total ban except in the case where the procedure is necessary to save the life (not the health) of the mother. SCOTUS agreed to allow the law to remain in effect while it undergoes challenge back in January.

Director of the White House Gender Policy Council Jennifer Klein said that women should never be denied medical care, especially in the case of pregnancy-related emergencies. If SCOTUS decides in favor of the Biden administration, Idaho will likely have its law overturned in part or in full.

After the Dobbs decision, states have had to establish new frameworks for themselves on how to regulate the practice of saving pregnancies, as well as terminating them.

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