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Doctors and Idaho lawmakers react to SCOTUS decision regarding emergency abortions

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jun 27, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — The Supreme Court decision in Moyle vs. the United States, permitting emergency abortions under federal law, offers temporary relief but leaves lingering concerns for healthcare providers.

  • Idaho Democrats pledge to fight for reproductive rights through legislation and elections.
  • Meanwhile Republicans, including U.S. Senator Jim Risch, vow to continue protecting “the lives of the unborn, women, and families.”

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

“There’s been a lot of frustration here in Idaho that we feel like we’ve had to send patients out of state,” says Boise-based emergency medicine doctor, Jessica Evans-Wall.

Boise emergency medicine doctor Jessica Evans-Wall has lived in Idaho for most of her life.

“I feel really rooted here. I want to stay here. I want to practice here. I want to be here in this community,” says Evans-Wall.

But she and her husband, who is a nurse and an Idaho native, fear for the future of their profession in the state.

“My concern is that, in the course of trying to provide the best care for my patient, I somehow end up on the wrong side of state regulations,” says Evans-Wall.

“We lost the majority of our high-risk pregnancy doctors, we lost a quarter of our OB-GYNs, we saw three labor departments shut down, and we saw physicians' applications coming to Idaho plummet,” says Idaho Representative Ilana Rubel (D).

With the United States Supreme Court's decision in the case of Moyle vs. the United States, emergency abortions are once again permitted under federal law, giving Dr. Evans-Wall peace of mind when performing life-saving emergency treatment to pregnant patients.

“The case isn't really resolved yet. I think all of us have this momentary relief but are still worried moving forward, and we just want to be able to take the best care of our communities and patients that we see,” says Evans-Wall.

Idaho State Director for Idaho Planned Parenthood Mistie DelliCarpini-Tolman echoes the feeling that this result is only temporary.

“This is not over. We have to stay vigilant when it comes to protecting access to emergency abortion care. This was the bare minimum the court could have done. I think it's important to know that pregnancy complications are really common. Up to a third of pregnancies include ER visits,” says DelliCarpini-Tolman.

I visited the State House to hear what’s next for Idaho Democrats following this decision.

“We will fight the legislature, we’ll fight on the campaign trail, and we’ll fight at the ballot box,” says Senator Melissa Wintrow (D).

But Republican lawmakers like U.S. Senator Jim Risch say GOP legislative leaders in the Gem State “will continue to fight to protect the lives of the unborn, women, and families.”

Speaker of the House Mike Moyle expressed, "There is no conflict between state and federal laws. Both protect the woman and her unborn child."

And for doctors like Evans-Wall:

“I trained to be able to take care of people in an emergency setting. I want to be able to provide that care to patients,” says Evans-Wall.