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Arizona and Florida Abortion Bans the Latest Assault on Reproductive Justice: PHR

Recent state supreme court decisions in Arizona and Florida that uphold dangerous and draconian abortion bans seriously threaten the health of pregnant people and represent the latest attack on reproductive justice in the United States, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) said today. 

“PHR’s research shows that from Louisiana to Oklahoma to Texas to Idaho and beyond, pregnant patients are facing delays and denials of basic health care. Clinicians operate in a climate of fear, forced to choose between following medical standards of care and obeying unjust laws. Abortion bans are leading to a growing number of maternity care deserts and more pregnant people are experiencing human rights violations. Similar harmful impacts and preventable suffering are anticipated in Florida and Arizona if their bans go into effect,” said Payal Shah, JD, who leads PHR’s reproductive justice work. 

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, PHR has mobilized its medical and legal networks to investigate, document, and spotlight the impacts of state-level abortion bans across the country. PHR has worked alongside local and national partners to research and highlight the consequences of abortion criminalization on health care in Louisiana, Oklahoma,  Idaho, and Texas.  

Most recently, PHR filed an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Idaho v. United States, arguing that Idaho’s abortion ban is “demonstrably in conflict” with the federal law Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA). EMTALA requires that health facilities receiving Medicare funding must offer stabilizing treatment – including pregnancy termination – when clinically indicated to preserve the health of a pregnant patient.  

 A PHR fact-finding brief cited in the amicus details what physicians practicing in and around Idaho have experienced since the state’s abortion ban went into effect. The brief sheds light on how the Idaho abortion ban has significantly delayed necessary medical care for pregnant patients and has forced them to undergo dangerous, costly journeys for care that further threaten their health, undermining EMTALA.  

“Arizona and Florida state policymakers must act to ensure abortion rights following these troubling decisions, which are an affront to the health, rights, autonomy, and dignity of their residents. It is critical that the U.S. Supreme Court also acts to preserve EMTALA’s federal protection of abortion care in medical emergencies. The federal government must also move to codify the right to abortion,” said Shah.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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