Pregnancy Justice, the NYU School of Law Reproductive Justice Clinic, and If/When/How — nonprofit legal advocacy organizations defending the rights of pregnant people from pregnancy-related criminalization — filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court consolidated case Idaho v. United States and Moyle v. United States.

The brief highlights that Idaho’s criminal abortion ban attempts to upend the 40-year status quo of the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) by giving a fetus “patient” status rights through the misinterpretation of EMTALA’s brief, passing references to an “unborn child.”

Rather than embrace Idaho’s interpretation, which relegates pregnant people to second-class status and compels them to put their health and lives at risk in the desperate moments of a health care crisis, EMTALA’s protections make pregnant women and all people who can become pregnant the sole rights-holders and arbiters of their reproductive health care decisions.

The brief argues that EMTALA must continue to preempt Idaho’s total abortion ban to preserve women’s bodily autonomy, prevent the spread of racially disparate maternal mortality rates in similar ban states, and continue the storied history of landmark federal Civil Rights legislation that counters state civil rights abuses.