Skip to content

Durbin Statement On Supreme Court Ruling in Moyle V. United States

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling today in Moyle v. United States, which will temporarily allow emergency abortions in Idaho.  The ruling leaves in place a lower court order that bars the state from enforcing its abortion ban to the extent that it conflicts with a federal law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)

“Today’s decision is not a victory—instead, it punts any decision about providing emergency and medically-necessary abortions to the lower courts.  It is a delay.  Preserving the health and life of the mother should be a necessity no matter the circumstance.  Yet politicians with an ideological agenda have inserted themselves into personal decisions about health care—decisions that should be made by an individual and their doctor.  As Justice Jackson wrote, ‘while this court dawdles and the country waits, pregnant people experiencing emergency medical conditions remain in a precarious position, as their doctors are kept in the dark about what the law requires.’

“It’s clear the fight is far from over.  Radical right-wing judges and extremist Republican-elected officials will continue their efforts to strip women of their reproductive freedoms across the nation.  Senate Democrats will continue to fight to protect Americans’ access to reproductive health care.”

Earlier this year, Durbin co-led an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the district court’s ruling, arguing that the congressional intent, text, and history of EMTALA make clear that covered hospitals must provide access to abortion when it is the necessary stabilizing treatment for a patient’s emergency medical condition, and that EMTALA preempts Idaho’s abortion ban in emergency situations that present a serious threat to a patient’s health.

In March, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing entitled “The Continued Assault on Reproductive Freedoms in a Post-Dobbs America.”  The hearing examined the continued and devastating fallout since Dobbs.  This hearing followed two previous hearings the Committee held on reproductive freedoms since Roe was overruled—one in July 2022 and one in April 2023.  Since Dobbs, the reproductive health care landscape in America has become more unsettled, resulting in women across the country—whether or not they live in states where abortion is restricted or banned—facing negative and sometimes life-threatening outcomes.