USCCB Issues Statement Regarding SCOTUS EMTALA Case Dismissal

July 01, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court this week left in place the order of a federal judge in Idaho that temporarily blocks the state from enforcing its abortion ban under the claim that it conflicts with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. In a brief unsigned order, the justices dismissed the pair of cases they heard in April as mistakenly granted, and did not rule on the merits of the law or of emergency abortion access. In response to this case’s dismissal, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, released a statement.

“EMTALA was enacted to ensure access to emergency medical care for low-income persons, especially pregnant mothers, and the law expressly protects both the mother and her preborn child”, stated Bishop Burbidge. “Catholic hospitals have thus faithfully and effectively cared for patients under this law for decades, and we will work and pray to ensure that they remain free to do so. EMTALA should not be newly misconstrued to override state laws protecting life nor misunderstood to mandate the performance of direct abortions – which are always wrong – as opposed to morally acceptable procedures that are necessary to preserve a mother’s life but tragically would result in a loss of her child.”

The USCCB joined an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in this litigation, which may be read here.