tv Attorney General Announces Lawsuit Against Idahos Abortion Law CSPAN August 2, 2022 8:00pm-8:17pm EDT
that is what we are doing and that is what we will continue to do. we will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law and we will closely scrutinize state abortion laws to ensure that they comply with federal law. i would now like to welcome associate attorney general vinita gupta, who is ahead of -- the head of our reproductive rights task force to the podium to share more details from our complaint. thank you. -- >> thank you, attorney general garland. the complaint alleges that idaho's law is contrary to impala because it presumptively criminalizes all abortions, making it a felony for doctors to provide emergency treatment required by federal law, even where a denial of care will likely result in the death of the pregnant patient.
the idaho law flatly prohibits abortion even were medically -- where medically necessary to protect the health of the patient, such as where women are experiencing incomplete miscarriage or severe preeclampsia. specifically, idaho's law, which takes effect on august 25, places the burden on physicians to prove at trial following arrest and indictment that they are not criminally liable. physicians can only do so by providing by proving that the abortion they performed was necessary for one of two reasons -- to prevent the death of a pregnant woman or in response to a case of rape or incest that was previously reported to the police, or in the case of a minor to child protective services. physicians who do not meet this burden faced 2-5 years imprisonment and revocation of their medical license and the law provides no defense whatsoever for when the health of the pregnant patient is that -- is at issue.
moreover, under the idaho law, health care professionals such as nurses and lab techs face license suspension and potentially revocation for even assisting with abortions. the law thus places medical professionals in an impossible situation. they must either withhold stabilizing treatment required by emtala, or risk felony prosecution and license revocation. in so doing, the law will chill providers willingness to perform abortions in emergency situations and will hurt patients by blocking access to medically necessary health care. the united states therefore seeks a declaratory judgment that idaho's law violates the supremacy clause of the united states constitution and is preempted by federal law where it conflicts with emtala. the united states also seeks declaratory judgment that idaho may not punish medical providers based on their performing an abortion authorized by federal law.
and we seek anction prohibiting -- an injunction prohibiting idaho's enforcement of this law to the extent it conflicts and prevents physicians from providing the emergency treatment that federal law requires. in the wake of dobbs, the justice department established the reproductive rights task force, to formalize our ongoing work to protect reproductive freedom. one critical focus of the task force has been assessing the fast changing landscape of state laws and evaluating potential responses to infringements on federal protections. today's lawsuit against the state of idaho, for its near absolute abortion ban, is the first public example of this work in action. the task force's other work includes advising agencies on legal issues that have arisen, coordinating technical assistance both to congress and the states on federal constitutional questions, and meeting with members of a broad array of stakeholder groups,
including states' attorney's general's offices, members of litigating reproductive justice and providers groups, and members of the pro bono legal community on our collective efforts to protect reproductive care. we know that these are frightening and uncertain times for pregnant women and their providers, and the justice department, through the work of its task force, is committed to doing everything we can to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services. and now, i'd like to turn the podium back to the attorney general, who will take some questions. atty. gen. garland: well, apparently i'm gonna take some questions. >> caroline, with reuters. thanks for doing this. can you talk a little bit about why you decided to select idaho as your first legal challenge since the dobbs decision? and also, there's also been reports about some people in certain states, like texas, having trouble accessing medications they need, not just for abortion, but also if they're undergoing a miscarriage and they need that medication. and there's been reports, i've
been hearing, about people who are unable to access that. so, are you going to be doing more to ensure that people have access to the medications that they need for reproductive health care? atty. gen. garland: so, on the first question, we have in front of us a statute, it seems to us on its face to directly conflict with emtala that is about to take effect. and that will threaten the health of women who come to the emergency room in a really dire medical situation. when we found that find that statute appropriate for us to vindicate the rules that congress established in emtala. that's why we're bringing this case. on the second question there, we are receiving many reports like the ones you're talking about -- the reproductive rights task force that the associate attorney just spoke of is evaluating them and making determinations about what further litigation will seek.
>> thank you very much. cbs. i just wonder if there's any further insight into this weekend's airstrike and any part that you or the justice department played in that decision. atty. gen. garland: so i think the president has said pretty much all that, that i would be at liberty to say. i think the general point that the united states does not forget people who kill american citizens. and we will find them and punish them, no matter how long it takes. it was the point of the president's statement and it is the point of the justice department's statement. >> we're doing separate topic questions, i'd like to ask you about this call for lawmakers that the justice department now get involved in this increasingly kind of concerning news about the missing text that have been found from the secret service around january 6. do you expect the justice department to get involved? and do you have confidence in
the current dhs inspector general, who is investigating this? atty. gen. garland: so as a general manner, any allegations of wrongdoing about inspector generals are handled by what we call siggy, which is the council -- ciggy, which is the council of inspectors general on integrity and efficiency. that's the way those kind of allegations are handled. and without commenting on this particular case, needless to say, the justice department's job is to investigate allegations of violations of the criminal law, including allegations regarding matters involving the scope of inspector generals. >> for you concerned about the missing text? atty. gen. garland: i won't talk about particular cases with respect to our own investigations. we pursue all facts as far as we need to pursue them and we'll pursue them with all the tools we have under the criminal law. >> if i could just ask you real quick, you have enormous respect
for the supreme court. what's the point of the supreme court if doj is going to go around and do these kinds of things? will there be other states like this? do you think? atty. gen. garland: i'm not sure what you mean by what's the point of this? i could give you a long discussion. >> but if doj is going to go around -- atty. gen. garland: this is not in any way going around the supreme court. the supreme court said that each state can make its own decisions with respect to abortion. but so, too, can the federal government, nothing that the supreme court said said that the statutes passed by congress uh -- passed by congress such as emtla are in any way invalid. it's quite the opposite, the supreme court left it to the people's representatives. emtala was a decision made by the congress of the united states, the supremacy clause as a -- is a decision made in the constitution of the united states. federal law invalidates state laws that are in direct contradiction. this has really nothing to do with anything that the supreme court said, and certainly nothing to do with going around the supreme court.
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