judge blocks part of Idaho anti-abortion law

“Women in Idaho will receive emergency medical care to which they are entitled under federal law,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Wednesday.

A US federal judge on Wednesday blocked part of a law banning nearly all abortions in Idaho, in the northwest of the country, a victory for the Biden administration. The state will not be able to prosecute doctors who perform voluntary termination of pregnancy to protect the health of the woman, judge B. Lynn Winmill has decided.

This suspension will continue until the end of a legal action challenging the ban on abortion, he added. Idaho, a rural and conservative state in the American West, was among the first to adopt a new law after the U.S. Supreme Court’s flip-flop on the right to abortion in late June .

The text comes into force on Thursday

The text, which remains very restrictive, will come into force on Thursday. Justice Secretary Merrick Garland had asked the court to block the law, saying it violated a federal law on medical emergencies because it did not provide an exception in the event of “serious danger to the health” of the pregnant woman and authorized legal action against doctors.

In his decision, Judge B. Lynn Winmill pointed out that this case “does not address the outdated constitutional right to abortion.” “This court does not have to decide this larger, deeper question,” he wrote.

“But the court is called upon to resolve a much more modest issue, namely whether Idaho’s abortion law conflicts with a small but important piece of federal law. It does,” continued B. Lynn Winmill.

Even if limited to a specific point, the decision constitutes a success for the administration of Joe Biden. It “helps ensure that women in Idaho will receive the emergency medical care to which they are entitled under federal law,” Minister Merrick Garland said in a statement on Wednesday.

A dozen states have already banned abortions on their soil and, eventually, half of the 50 states should do so.

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