Supreme Court acknowledges document in ongoing abortion case accidentally posted online

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court admitted Wednesday that it inadvertently posted online a document relating to a pending abortion case, which was obtained by Bloomberg Law before being removed from the website.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe confirmed that a document had been “inadvertently and briefly uploaded” to the court’s website, but added that the decision “has not been published”.

NBC News has not seen a copy of the document and could not independently verify it. It is unclear whether this was a draft decision, the decision itself, or neither.

Reproductive rights activists demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court on June 24, 2024.Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The court appears ready to allow Idaho emergency room doctors to perform abortions in certain situations, according to a copy of the ruling, Bloomberg reported. The court will likely reject the appeal filed by Idaho officials, Bloomberg said.

In doing so, the court will allow a lower court ruling in favor of the Biden administration to take effect again. Three conservative justices, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Neil Gorsuch, dissent from that conclusion, Bloomberg reported.

In January, the Supreme Court blocked the lower court’s ruling and allowed Idaho to fully enforce its abortion law while agreeing to hear oral arguments in the case. Other provisions of the ban are already in effect and will not be affected by the decision.

The case concerns whether a federal law that regulates emergency room treatment overrides Idaho’s strict ban on abortion. But if the court rejects the appeal, the ruling would leave the legal question unanswered.

Bloomberg reported that liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote separately to say the court should have gone ahead and decided the larger issue, which is likely to arise in another case in due course and would impact other states with abortion restrictions similar to Idaho’s. .

“Today’s decision is not a victory for Idaho’s pregnant patients. It is a delay,” she wrote, according to Bloomberg. “While this court drags on and the country waits, pregnant women facing emergency medical issues remain in a precarious position because their doctors are kept in the dark about what the law requires,” he said. she adds.

Idaho law states that anyone who performs an abortion is subject to criminal penalties, including up to five years in prison. Healthcare professionals who have broken the law may lose their professional license.

The federal government sued, leading a federal judge in August 2022 to block the state from enforcing provisions regarding medical care required under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA.

This 1986 law requires that patients receive appropriate care in emergency rooms. The Biden administration has argued that care should include abortion in certain situations where a woman’s health is in danger, even if death is not imminent.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to issue its decisions Thursday and Friday, as it nears the end of its current term. The abortion case is one of 12 debated cases that remain to be decided.

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