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Maryland joins multistate coalition in defending abortion as emergency medical care

Maryland joined a multistate coalition supporting the federal government’s moves to prevent Texas and Idaho from exempting abortion from a law requiring hospitals to provide emergency care, Attorney General Brian Frosh said Tuesday.

Frosh and the other 20 attorneys general filed two amicus briefs in federal cases in Texas and Idaho dealing with a law that requires most U.S. hospitals to deliver emergency care, including abortion.

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In Texas vs. Becerra, the state sought to exempt abortion care from the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. The law requires hospitals that operate an emergency department and participate in Medicare to deliver stabilizing care to patients with an emergency medical condition.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance in July following the reversal of Roe v. Wade saying that hospitals must still provide abortion as a treatment when necessary to stabilize an emergency condition, regardless of state law.

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Maryland and the other states’ attorneys general also filed a brief in support of the federal government’s motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the enforcement of Idaho’s abortion ban. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit challenging Idaho’s law, which criminalizes abortions and imposes prison time for anyone who performs an abortion or helps someone obtain one.

The amicus briefs in the Texas and Idaho cases argue that pregnant patients might need abortions for medical emergencies including ectopic pregnancy, hemorrhage, and amniotic fluid embolism. Failing to treat those conditions could lead to disability or death, Frosh said in a news release.

Allowing Texas and Idaho to ban emergency abortions could lead to a greater strain on emergency health care systems in other states that do allow abortion, the coalition wrote in the briefs.


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