abortion laws


US sues Idaho over abortion law, cites medical treatment

  • August 6, 2022

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit that challenges Idaho’s restrictive abortion law, arguing that it conflicts with a federal law requiring doctors to provide pregnant women medically necessary treatment that could include abortion.

The federal government brought the lawsuit seeking to invalidate the state’s “criminal prohibition on providing abortions as applied to women suffering medical emergencies,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

The announcement is the first major action by the Justice Department challenging a state trigger law since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. The court’s decision has led some states to enact restrictive abortion laws and is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states in the US

The Justice Department brought the suit because federal prosecutors believe Idaho’s law would force doctors to violate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, a federal law that requires anyone coming to a medical facility for emergency treatment to be stabilized and treated, Garland said.

“Idaho’s law would make it a criminal offense for doctors to provide the emergency medical treatment that federal law requires,” Garland said.

Idaho, like many Republican-led states, has several anti-abortion laws on the books, creating a legal quagmire now that the US Supreme Court has overturned the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade.

The law targeted by the Justice Department criminalizes all abortions, subjecting anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion to a felony punishable by between two and five years in prison.

People who are charged under the law could defend themselves against the criminal allegations by arguing that the abortion was done to save a pregnant person from death, or that it was done after the pregnant person reported that they were a victim of rape or incest to

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Vermont Conversation: The “courageous doctor” who helped legalize abortion in Vermont

  • July 5, 2022
Jackson Beeham. Photo courtesy of Jackson Beecham

The Vermont Conversation with David Goodman is a VTDigger podcast that features in-depth interviews on local and national issues with politicians, activists, artists, changemakers and citizens who are making a difference. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify to hear more.

When the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade on June 24, it left each state to decide its own abortion laws. Many Republican-led states are reverting to the anti-abortion laws that were on the books before 1973 when Roe legalized abortion.

Vermont legalized abortion a year before Roe. In 1972, the Vermont Supreme Court overturned a 122 year-old law that made it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion, though it was not against the law for someone to have one. In practice, this meant that someone could legally self-abort at their own peril, but a doctor who performed an abortion could be arrested and imprisoned for up to 20 years.

The case that legalized abortion in Vermont featured “Jacqueline R.,” an unmarried server who wanted to end her pregnancy, and an OB/GYN resident at the University of Vermont named Jackson Beecham.

After New York legalized abortion in 1970, Beecham, a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, joined a small group of women’s health advocates in Burlington who were exploring ways to legalize abortion in the Green Mountain State. Attorney Willis “Woody” Higgins, a lawyer for IBM who volunteered to argue the case, advised the group that they needed two plaintiffs: a pregnant person who wanted an abortion and “a courageous doctor.”

The prosecutor they faced was a young state’s attorney, Patrick Leahy, and the landmark case that legalized abortion in Vermont was known as Beecham vs. Leahy.

“I didn’t even think about

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