Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to temporarily preserve emergency care for pregnant people under the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA), a nearly 40-year-old federal law which requires hospitals to not turn away patients. 

“It’s a relief that emergency care will remain available in Idaho for now,” said Sen. Lisa Cutter (D-Dakota Ridge), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, in a news release. “But emergency care for pregnant people should’ve never been in question to begin with and the court should have easily tossed this case. This case shows us what’s at stake in the fight for reproductive freedom, especially as we face dual crises in abortion access and maternal mortality. Our colleagues and I will continue working to protect our fundamental freedoms. Even with the significant protections we have won so far, we know this fight is far from over.”

Following The 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country went into effect in Idaho. The Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Idaho in August 2022, seeking an injunction to allow patients to receive emergency abortions, as required by EMTALA. A lower court granted the injunction, but anti-abortion politicians appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court. Yesterday’s ruling will not prevent future legal challenges against EMTALA protections for pregnant people.

“Our nation’s highest court had the opportunity to do the right thing and recognize the rights that EMTALA protects and put people over politics,” said Sen. Julie Gonzales (D-Denver), Co-Chair of the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus, in a news release. “And once again, they failed. This decision makes abundantly clear that the court is leaving the door open for ongoing attempts to deny emergency abortion care for pregnant people.” 

In a news release yesterday, Gonzales says she and other Democratic lawmakers plan to introduce a bill for the 2025 legislative session entitled “Concerning Emergency Medical Protections for Coloradans’ Access to Healthcare,” which will protect abortion care in Colorado for medical emergency situations, despite Colorado’s broad abortion protections in the Reproductive Health Equity Act and Proposition 89, the upcoming ballot initiative that will enshrine abortion access in the Colorado Constitution.

“Legislators in Colorado will again act to protect Coloradans’ abortion access from the continued threat by the Supreme Court and the potential future Trump administration,” said Gonzales. “We’ve done it with the Reproductive Health Equity Act and our shield law. Now we are rolling up our sleeves to ensure pregnant people facing emergency medical issues get the care they need in Colorado hospitals.”


Monday marked the two-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision, and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette and Housing and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra marked the day with a June 21 press event in Denver.

“It is important that we recognize that health care is at stake here today,” said Becerra. “Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down 50 years of rights protections. And the consequence isn’t just a consequence on abortion. It was a consequence on access to care.”

DeGette emphasized the role Colorado plays in providing reproductive health care for patients from nearby states with restrictions on abortion. “Colorado is an island in the West,” she said. “What happens here in Colorado is that people from other states around us are forced to come here. Out-of-state patients in Colorado made up almost 30% of the abortions that we’ve had here in the last two years. What that means, aside from the terrible and unnecessary burden that these patients from other states and their families have had to bear, it also means that patients here in Colorado have had to wait for the services that they need that are legal here in Colorado for an unbelievable amount of time. And so, frankly, this situation is not getting any better. It’s chaotic. It changes all the time.”

DeGette warned that Republican legislators are not just working to restrict abortion, but access to contraception and in vitro fertilization (IVF). “Because I’m co-chair of the pro-choice caucus, I did a little research,” she said. “One hundred and eighty-four Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives today have co-sponsored legislation that would outlaw abortions because it identifies a fetus from the moment of conception as a person. It would outlaw all abortions irrespective of rape, incest, the life or health of the mother, or anything else. It would outlaw, in vitro fertilization, and it would outlaw many forms of birth control medication. This is an extreme position that 100 over 180 Republicans have taken.”