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Op-Ed: SCOTUS to Decide if Abortion Law Goes Too Far

By • May 1, 2024

If anybody can understand the importance of emergency care during a pregnancy, it’s Rep. Ilana Rubel of Boise, the House minority leader. She has plenty of life experience on that matter.

“Fifteen years ago, my fourth child had a rare blood antigen triggering an attack response from my body during pregnancy,” she said. “Thankfully I was in the care of a fetal maternal specialist who identified the problem and had me go through high-resolution ultrasounds several times a week to make sure blood oxygen to my son’s brain wasn’t dropping too low. One day that test showed that his blood oxygen was dropping dangerously, and I had to have an emergency C-section within the hour.”

This story has a happy ending. Rubel’s son is a straight-A student and taking AP Physics as a 9th grader. It’s fortunate that her story was from 15 years ago, when there were more than a few doctors qualified to handle her situation.

“Without the intervention of that fetal maternal specialist, he would have been born brain dead,” she said. “The majority of these specialists have left Idaho because its abortion ban makes it too risky to practice here and have to choose, in many cases, between malpractice and prison.”

Rubel isn’t talking about whether abortion should be legal, although she’s decidedly pro-choice on the issue. The question is over whether abortion can be allowed as an emergency procedure to save life of a mother, an issue that is before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney General Raul Labrador says the uproar over emergency-care abortions is much ado about nothing and that Idaho’s abortion law makes exceptions to save the life of a mother, or in the cases of rape or incest.

“Idaho’s law is fully consistent with federal law,” he says.

Rubel is not convinced, with doctors and specialists leaving the state in droves, and pregnant mothers being airlifted to other states to receive the care they need. She’s also seeing a fair amount of tax dollars being spent fighting for a cause that, to her, doesn’t make sense.

As you might expect, politics are at the forefront. Labrador says he’s asking the Supreme Court to prevent the Biden administration from manipulating federal law to override Idaho’s Defense of Life Act.

“The administration’s radical interpretation of federal law is nothing more than a lawless disregard for Idaho’s right to protect life,” Labrador said. Idaho’s law is “perfectly consistent with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which provides explicit protections for unborn children in four separate places. But the Biden administration is trying to use one life affirming law to invalidate another.”

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on this case sometime in September. In the meantime, there will be plenty to say from both sides. Last week on the steps of the Supreme Court, Labrador was holding a news conference while Rubel and Senate Minority Leader Melissa Wintrow of Boise were participating in a rally.

“In Idaho, we are on the front lines of the horror that was unleashed upon women and medical professionals when (Roe v. Wade) was overturned. Idaho has the most extreme abortion ban in America. The only exception is if the patient faces certain death. Likely death, no exception. Possible death, organ loss, no exception. Paralysis, permanent infertility – no exception,” Rubel said in a prepared statement.


“None of this is enough to permit an abortion, and any doctor who acts to save a woman in such an emergency faces years in prison. This is not OK,” she said.

Wintrow said that EMTALA has provided a lifeline for at least emergency abortion care,

“but extremists in our state fought to cut that lifeline and take even that sliver of protection away. The impact of this case will extend far beyond Idaho. If EMTALA is not found to protect emergency abortion care, the safety of pregnant folks is in danger across the country.”

It was a spirited rally, for sure, and Labrador made his point in the news conference and in oral arguments to the Supreme Court. But the anxiety has just begun as we wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling, and the potential fallout.

Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at


This Op-Ed was submitted by Chuck Malloy. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

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Tags: Abortion, Biden Administration, Dobbs Decision, Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986, EMTALA, Idaho, Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador, Ilana Rubel, Melissa Wintrow, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Roe v Wade, SCOTUS, US Supreme Court

13 thoughts on “Op-Ed: SCOTUS to Decide if Abortion Law Goes Too Far

  1. Another front in the culture war. Much like 1861 States Rights are at the forefront again. Fortunately we have AG Labrador. I note he is hated by the Press, Demonrats and Rino’s alike but he is loved by the average Idahoan. Malloy’s cautious and subtle liberal bias is apparent in this article..

  2. Shouldn’t be killing the innocent or defenseless whether that be the baby or the mother. Need to assist both.

  3. Idaho’s law is not as clear as the office of the AG states. I’ve asked my conservative internist for her opinion as well as the reasons for the flight of certain specialty practicioners in Idaho. Her answer was simple, “our system in Idaho is broken”.

    1. Your internist is not a conservative with an answer like that. That’s the same answers liberals give regarding our immigration system. It’s broken, so therefore let’s just ignore it. Sorry, but not sorry.

  4. I am wondering if there are any other circumstances (medical or otherwise…), when in the history of western civilization societies have sanctioned the murder of one human to save another.

    Killing in self defense isn’t murder
    The proverbial “suicide mission” in the military isn’t murder.
    With the exception of government sanctioned assassinations, I’m coming up empty.

    And who created the value scale for human life where a child’s life is less valuable than an adult, Klaus Schwab and the WEF?

    This whole “to save the life of the mother” argument is a red herring.
    If ‘specialists’ are leaving Idaho because they can’t kill babies, they aren’t specialists-they are abortionists.

  5. Women are leaving Idaho. The crazy old men want it all to themselves, wearing their nutty weird misfitted cowboy hats. There are no uteruses left in the State so these cowboys don’t need to get their panties in a twist. Idaho males have made themselves useless mutating their sperm by eating red meat , junk food, fried food, smoking cigars, drinking alcohol, taking prescription drugs, having a BMI over 25 so much they are obese, and their age. They are shriveled up and no one wants them.

  6. A thousand things can go wrong with a pregnancy. Half of all conceptions end in miscarriage and stillbirth. Over a million WANTED children die in the US yearly. Why? One reason only- mutated sperm. Men are fully at fault. Sperm is made daily and easily mutates if the man doesn’t eat well, if he eats fried food, red meat, junk food, if he drinks alcohol or smokes, if he takes any drugs, whether prescription, OTC, or recreational, if he’s overweight, a BMI of 25 is unacceptable. They cannot have a fat gut as that hangs over his scrotum and increases the testes temperature which causes mutation. Males need to be tested daily if they intend to have sex. There are at home kits and plenty of sperm clinics. Just because they can make sperm doesn’t mean those should make babies. A miscarriage and stillbirth is traumatizing and a waste of a woman’s uterus.

  7. Males are jealous of women because they control life. Women decide which males get female attention. Women decide which males get to date. Women decide which males will get married. Women decide which males can become fathers. Boys learn early they better be nice to girls or the boys won’t have a future. Unfortunately, there are some males who never learned this lesson. Too bad for them.

  8. So called abortion is murder.

    Hebrews 9:27
    “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
    King James Version (KJV)

  9. Chuck Malloy seems to be favoring the “moderate” position of Rep Rubel.

    Sorry Chuck, murdering one’s own child is always wrong, no matter what the circumstances.

    In Genesis 35 (KJV) Rachel dies after giving birth to Benjamin. We see in that chapter that the Lord didn’t have Benjamin murdered by Rachel so Rachel could live. It is the Lord that should be in charge of life and death not some anti-Christian atheist “doctor”.

    Job 31:15
    “Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?”
    King James Version (KJV)

    Psalms 106:38
    “And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.”
    King James Version (KJV)

    The United States is polluted with the blood of all the murdered, poor little innocent babies.
    God will bring judgement on those responsible for these atrocities.

  10. I’d like to know, How can one doctor saving one baby weigh more than a feather in the balance of dozens of doctors performing hundreds of abortions to kill hundreds of babies? Talk about an argument beside the point! Malloy, you reek of snake oil.

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