First US Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion Since Dobbs

One week ago today, The Supreme Court determined that Idaho could enforce the Defense of Life Act, which outlaws most abortions except in specific circumstances. Under the law, a provider who conducts an abortion can face up to five years in prison and the suspension or revocation of his or her license. 

Idaho’s abortion law can go into effect while a legal battle continues, according to a recent order from the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that marks the first time that the court has weighed in on a state’s criminal law on abortion since it overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022.

Idaho enacted the law in 2020, and after the Supreme Court reversed Roe in 2022, restoring regulatory authority over abortion to the states, the law could go into effect.

The court agreed to hear arguments in April about the issue, putting on hold a lower court ruling based on an August 2022 lawsuit filed by the Biden administration that claimed the state’s abortion ban interfered with a federal law requiring hospitals that receive Medicare funds to provide emergency care. 

The White House issued a statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision. President Joe Biden called on Congress to restore the “protections of Roe v. Wade” and referred to Idaho’s abortion law as “dangerous.” He repeated the administration’s assertion that the law will make it harder for doctors to provide emergency medical care.