Nevada health care providers, patients, and advocates respond to SCOTUS emergency abortion case oral arguments 

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that will determine the future of EMTALA, a federal law that guarantees that, in an emergency, patients receive the lifesaving care they need, including abortion care.

Idaho v. United States and Moyle v. United States is the second case related to abortion coming before the Supreme Court since the Dobbs decision and could have catastrophic impacts on women and patients across the country.

The impacts of striking down EMTALA, the key to protecting life-saving abortion care, will be dire. Being denied care has resulted in, and will continue to result in, putting women and patients in life-threatening situations. A hospital could refuse to treat a pregnant patient in a medical emergency, like their water breaking dangerously early or an uncontrollable hemorrhage.

Dr. Christine Miyake, an emergency medicine physician
“I have seen several different cases where the woman would have died had they not received an emergency abortion. Women who are experiencing an ectopic pregnancy that has ruptured are at high risk of hemorrhaging and death. My patient was hemorrhaging so severely that we had to provide multiple transfusions just to be able to get her stable enough to go to the operating room. Other cases where medical abortion is necessary is a case where I saw a patient who ruptured her membranes early and developed a severe uterine infection and she was dying from the infection. If they were not able to provide that abortion, she surely would have died from the infection.”

Not only is the threat to protections for lifesaving care dangerous, anti-abortion extremists behind this challenge are deeply out of step with voters. According to a 2023 Wall Street Journal poll, nine in 10 Americans support abortion access when a woman’s health is seriously endangered by the pregnancy. Extremists would rather put a woman’s life at risk than grant them access to life-saving medical care.

Laura Campbell, Director of Actions for Nevada NOW, shared her experience of receiving lifesaving care while pregnant
“Throughout this experience, I was taken care of by my doctors, and I am grateful for that… But not everyone has that. We are hearing stories of women miscarrying in emergency rooms, of pregnant women being turned away from hospitals. That could easily have been me. Nobody should be denied healthcare in a medical emergency. That is what’s at stake in the case before the Supreme Court today. The law being argued today is key to protecting life-saving abortion care – the very same care I received.”

This case is part of a broader strategy to ban abortion and other reproductive health care altogether. Without the constitutional protection of Roe v. Wade, attacks like this one are a reminder of the urgency of our fight to enshrine abortion access as a constitutional right for Nevadans.

Crystal Barbarin Garcia, Promotore de Salud with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
“With our rights continuously under attack, the work we are doing in Nevada to protect access to abortion in our state constitution could not be more critical. Not only for Nevadans, but for the patients who no longer have the right to abortion in their state. Everyone experiencing a health emergency should be able to get the care they need—including an abortion—without political interference.”

Background on Abortion Protections in Nevada
A 1990 voter referendum codified the protections for abortion as outlined by Roe v. Wade into state law. However, statutory protections do not mean the right is codified in the state constitution

The petition initiative to enshrine reproductive freedom into the Nevada constitution seeks to build upon and improve existing statutory protections while taking into account the changing abortion access national landscape after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in the summer of 2022.

About Nevadans For Reproductive Freedom
Nevadans For Reproductive Freedom is a campaign united to enshrine the right to reproductive freedom into the Nevada constitution. We are a coalition of progressive organizations and citizens who believe that in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022, Nevadans must take the final step of cementing into the state’s constitution the right to abortion.