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Historic Victory at the 9th Circuit

October 2nd, 2023

The pro-Life community welcomed a tremendous victory this past week in a ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  We believe it is the first significant pro-Life victory from that Court in at least thirty years.

The case revolves around the Biden Administration’s attack on pro-Life states following the landmark ruling in Dobbs last year.  Despite the Supreme Court’s clear edict that abortion was not properly a matter of concern for the federal government and/or the federal court system – Joe Biden was desperate to re-establish federal control over the nation’s abortion policy.  Since Congress has never enacted a statutory framework for abortion, Biden’s DOJ didn’t have many tools in the shed.

After many long nights of searching federal code, lawyers for the DOJ hit upon the novel idea of using the Medicare Act to regulate abortion in the states.  They filed suit against Idaho in a case known as “the United States of America vs. the State of Idaho”.  Pretty ominous.  And a case of great national interest.  Some 37 states have filed briefs in this federal case – about half in support of Idaho, the remaining arguing for Idaho’s Defense of Life to be discarded because it supposedly violated the provisions of the Medicare law.

Specifically, Biden’s DOJ wanted to impose a requirement that Idaho allow for abortions in the state when the mother’s health was threatened.  This was a weak reprise of the infamous Doe v. Bolton decision imposed upon the nation during the dark decades of Roe. And most pro-Lifers recognize that the health requirements of Doe did far more damage to preborn children than Roe itself.

It was clear from the beginning that Biden’s agenda was to begin in Idaho and then use a ruling from liberal judge Lynn Winmill to restrict pro-Life policies across the nation.  Idaho has the strongest law in the nation;  and we are burdened by Judge Winmill and the historic record of the 9th Circuit on abortion.  It was seen as an easy win.  And, in fact, Judge Winmill was happy to issue a preliminary injunction even before the Defense of Life Act took effect in August of 2022.  By his edict, hospitals in Idaho would be required to perform abortions when a mother’s health was threatened. If they failed to do so, federal Medicare monies could be withheld.

That grave injustice was partially corrected last week, when a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit reversed Winmill’s order.  In a striking decision – the appeals court affirmed Idaho’s sovereign right to protect preborn children from being killed in the womb.  The court further made it clear that the Medicare Act’s EMTALA could not legitimately be used to impose a duty to perform abortions on Idaho hospitals and doctors.

This unprecedented victory was the direct result of the Idaho Legislature’s decision to intervene in the lawsuit.  It has taken courage and commitment – but the Leadership of our Legislature determined that they would fight Joe Biden’s radical abortion agenda; they would fight to defend Idaho’s sovereign right to set its own course.

Their courage was vindicated this week with a powerful rebuke of Biden’s abuse of power.

Glory to God.