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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Chris Stein

Arizona’s Republican-led house repeals strict abortion ban – as it happened

Abortion rights supporters gather outside the Capitol in Phoenix.
Abortion rights supporters gather outside the Capitol in Phoenix. Photograph: Matt York/AP

Closing summary

The supreme court heard from both sides in a dispute between the Biden administration and Idaho over whether federal law requires doctors in the state, where a strict abortion ban is in effect, to perform the procedure on women in emergency circumstances. The court’s three liberal justices were skeptical towards Republican-governed Idaho, as were some members of the conservative majority, but it is unclear if they will ultimately find against the state. A decision is expected in June, which could again raise the public’s awareness of the impacts of Roe v Wade’s downfall, just months before the November presidential election.

Here’s what else happened today:

  • Arizona’s house passed legislation to repeal its near-total abortion ban, after three Republicans joined with all Democrats in the chamber. It now heads to the state senate, where it is set to be voted on next week.

  • Joe Biden signed the $95b foreign aid bill passed by the Senate yesterday into law. It approves further military assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, and threatens social media app TikTok with a nationwide ban unless its Chinese owner sells it in a year.

  • The White House’s campaign against junk fees continued, with the transportation department debuting new regulations against hidden charges, and requirements that passengers receive automatic refunds in certain cases.

  • The defense department announced a $1b weapons shipment to Ukraine shortly after the aid bill was signed that president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said would help them defend against Russia’s attacks.

  • TikTok is in trouble in the US. The just-signed foreign aid bill requires its owner, Chinese firm ByteDance, to sell the popular social media app in a year, or be banned nationwide.

The Associated Press reports that the Arizona house finally passed a bill repealing its near-total abortion ban after three Republicans voted to advance the measure alongside all 29 Democrats in the chamber.

Previous attempts to pass the bill had failed for a lack of votes by Republicans, who hold a narrow majority in the house.

The divide in the Senate is similar small, with Republicans in the majority with 16 seats, and Democrats with 14.

Arizona’s state senate Democrats say the bill repealing the state’s abortion ban will be voted on 1 May:

Arizona house repeals strict abortion ban, state senate must still approve

Arizona lawmakers took a step towards repealing the strict, century-and-a-half old abortion ban that was set to go into effect due to a court decision earlier this month, Reuters reports, with the state house just now voting to repeal the law. However, the state senate must approve the repeal before it comes into effect.

Republican candidates who are hoping to win one of the swing state’s US Senate seat in November and its electoral votes for Donald Trump had denounced the revived near-total ban and asked the state legislature to repeal it, but previous efforts fell short in recent weeks.

Here’s more on the saga:

This post has been corrected to say the ban was set to go into effect, and was not currently in effect.


Supreme court appears split as arguments over emergency abortions conclude

When it heard oral arguments earlier today over whether a federal law known as Emtala requires Idaho, a state with strict abortion ban, to allow the procedure in emergencies, the supreme court’s justices appeared split into three camps.

The court’s three-justice liberal minority was sympathetic to the Biden administration, which has championed reproductive health access and sued Idaho over its law. Of the court’s six-justice conservative supermajority, three – Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas – seemed partial to Idaho’s insistence that it had the authority to dramatically narrow when doctors may perform abortions, even during emergencies.

The other three conservative justices – John Roberts, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh – asked questions that indicated they may at least be willing to consider the Biden administration’s positions. The latter two justices had voted in 2022 to overturn Roe v Wade, setting the stage for Republican-led states to ban or restrict the procedure.

From the Guardian’s Carter Sherman, here’s a recap of arguments in the case, which will likely be decided in June – less than five months before a presidential election where abortion access is expected to be a key issue for voters:

Progressive group Indivisible hit out at the supreme court’s conservatives after they earlier today heard oral arguments in a dispute between the White House and Idaho over whether the conservative state’s abortion ban can prevent doctors from performing the procedure in an emergency.

The Biden administration argued that federal law requires abortion be performed in emergencies, an argument that the court’s three liberal justices appeared to agree with. But the six justices who form its conservative supermajority appeared either skeptical, or unsure of how they may rule.

In a statement, Indivisible’s managing director Mari Urbina linked the court’s stance on the case to Donald Trump’s appointment of three of the justices who make up its conservative bloc:

We must stress unequivocally: this case has no business being decided by these MAGA Supreme Court justices. Their decision to hear it and put the law into effect is a calculated move, aligned with their deeply misogynistic, twisted, anti-women MAGA agenda.

It’s a known fact, yet it remains profoundly disturbing that our fundamental rights—our very bodies and lives—are controlled by these MAGA, Trump-selected extremists.

Justice Alito’s remark that a woman is ‘an individual’ painfully exposes the core of their ideology. The fact that Republicans need to assert that women are indeed human beings blatantly reveals the depravity of their values and political agenda.

That last part is a dig justice Samuel Alito, a conservative stalwart who was appointed by George W Bush.

A billionaire TikTok investor has been linked to $16m in donations to anti-Muslim and pro-Israel groups, a new investigation has found.

Eli Clifton reports for the Guardian:

Top Republican donor and TikTok investor Jeff Yass is connected to over $16m in funding to anti-Muslim and pro-Israel groups that have advocated for a US war with Iran and other militaristic policies in the Middle East, according to an investigation by the Guardian and Responsible Statecraft.

Media reports on Yass, the billionaire co-founder of Susquehanna International Group, a trading and technology firm, have focused on his outsized role in the Republican party, to which he is now the largest political donor in the 2024 election cycle, contributing more than $46m thus far.

Yass has also emerged as the biggest funder of a group targeting progressive representative Summer Lee in her primary race, suggesting an interest in influencing Democratic primary outcomes, not just in boosting Republicans.

For the full story, click here:


The transportation department has issued a new set of rules to protect passengers from hidden airline fees.

In a video address on Wednesday, transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said:

“The Biden-Harris administration is now going to require airlines to give passengers an automatic cash refund if your flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, and you’ll get your fee refunded if your bag doesn’t arrive in time or if you don’t get a service that you paid for like wifi.

No more refund runarounds and no defaulting to a travel credit that expires. We’re also eliminating hidden fees.”

Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democrat who ran for president in 2020, has repeated a false claim about Hillary Clinton and “grooming” in a new book.

The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly reports:

Accusing Democrats of making up “a conspiracy theory that [Trump] was ‘colluding’ with the Russians to win the election” in 2016, Gabbard claims: “Hillary Clinton used a similar tactic against me when I ran for president in 2020, accusing me of being ‘groomed by the Russians’.”

Gabbard ran for the Democratic nomination. Clinton did not accuse her of being “groomed by the Russians”.

What Clinton said, in October 2019 and on a podcast hosted by the former Barack Obama adviser David Plouffe, was that she thought Republicans would encourage a third-party bid in 2020, aiming to syphon votes from the Democratic candidate in key states as Jill Stein, the Green candidate, and the Libertarian, Gary Johnson, did four years before.

For the full story, click here:


The day so far

The supreme court heard from both sides in a dispute between the Biden administration and Idaho over whether federal law requires doctors in the state, where a strict abortion ban is in effect, to perform the procedure on women in emergency circumstances. The court’s three liberal justices were skeptical towards Republican-governed Idaho, as were some members of the conservative majority, but it is unclear if they will ultimately find against the state. A decision is expected in June, which could again raise the public’s awareness of the impacts of Roe v Wade’s downfall, just months before the November presidential election.

Here’s what else happened today:

  • Joe Biden signed the $95b foreign aid bill passed by the Senate yesterday into law. It approves further military assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, and threatens social media app TikTok with a nationwide ban unless its Chinese owner sells it in a year.

  • Arizona’s Democratic lawmakers will try to get the state legislature to repeal its abortion ban, after two previous attempts failed.

  • The defense department announced a $1b weapons shipment to Ukraine shortly after the aid bill was signed that president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said would help them defend against Russia’s attacks.

The legislation just signed by Joe Biden will also force ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, to sell the popular social media app within a year or face a ban in the United States. Here’s more on what happens next, from the Guardian’s Dan Milmo:

Joe Biden has signed into law a bill that requires TikTok’s Chinese owner to sell the social media app’s US operations or face a ban, after the Senate passed the legislation.

The law, part of a foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, sets the clock ticking on a potential ban for a platform that is hugely popular in the US.

Here is a guide to the TikTok legislation and what might happen next.


As Joe Biden signed the foreign aid bill this morning, the defense department announced that it would ship $1b of new weapons and ammunition to Ukraine amid fears Russia’s military will soon overrun more territory.

Some of what the defense department says it sent:

  • RIM-7 and AIM-9M missiles for air defense;

  • Stinger anti-aircraft missiles;

  • Small arms and additional rounds of small arms ammunition, including .50 caliber rounds to counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS);

  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);

  • 155mm artillery rounds, including High Explosive and Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions rounds;

  • 105mm artillery rounds;

  • 60mm mortar rounds;

  • Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles;

  • Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs);

  • High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs);

  • Logistics support vehicles;

  • Tactical vehicles to tow and haul equipment;

  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles

In response, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his country was “gaining the support we need to continue protecting lives from Russian attacks”:

Biden signs $95b bill that aids Ukraine, Israel, threatens TikTok ban

Joe Biden this morning signed the $95b bill Congress passed yesterday that authorized further military aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, and will see social media app TikTok banned nationwide in a year unless its owner ByteDance divests.

The White House released a video showing the moment Biden transformed the bill into a law:

The Senate’s overwhelming passage of the legislation yesterday capped months of congressional wrangling that at one point saw Democrats ready to swallow strict immigration regulations demanded by the GOP, until Donald Trump emerged to torpedo the deal. Here’s a recap of how we got here, and what the bill may mean for Washington’s allies:

Beyond the supreme court, state legislatures have become important arenas for determining where abortion can be accessed, and where it cannot. Today in Arizona, Democrats will once again try to repeal the state’s near-total abortion ban, after Republicans narrowly blocked previous efforts:

Democrats at the Arizona legislature are attempting to repeal the state’s near-total ban on abortions for a third straight week, again spotlighting an issue that has put Republicans on the defensive in a battleground state for the presidential election.

The Arizona supreme court earlier this month concluded the state can enforce a long-dormant law that permits abortions only to save the pregnant patient’s life. The ruling suggested doctors could be prosecuted under the law first approved in 1864, and anyone who assists in an abortion could face two to five years in prison.

The ruling put enormous pressure on Republicans in the state, who on the one hand are under intense pressure from some conservatives in their base who firmly support the abortion ban, and from swing voters who strongly oppose the measure and will decide crucial races including the presidency, the US Senate and the GOP’s control of the legislature.

Some prominent Republicans, including the GOP candidate for Senate, Kari Lake, have come out against the ban. But Republicans in the statehouse so far have blocked efforts by Democratic lawmakers to repeal the law.

The supreme court has wrapped up hearing the arguments in the case pitting Idaho against the Biden administration over whether states with strict abortion bans must allow the procedures in emergencies under the federal law Emtala.

But before arguments concluded, Idaho’s deputy solicitor Josh Turner rose to rebut arguments made by Elizabeth Prelogar, the US solicitor general.

He warned that the conflict between state and federal law at issue in this case will return to the court because other states have strict abortion laws like Idaho, and their definitions of emergency situations where abortions can be performed are narrower than Emtala:

The administration’s position ultimately is untethered from any limiting principle. There’s just no way to limit this to abortion, and there’s no way to limit it to Idaho. There are 22 states with abortion laws on the books. This isn’t going to end with Idaho, it’s not going to end with the six states that general Prelogar mentioned because all of the states that have abortion regulations define the health and the emergency exception narrower than Emtala does. So this question is going to come up in state after state after state.

US solicitor general Elizabeth Prelogar pushed back against Idaho’s claim that their abortion ban does not conflict with the requirements of Emtala.

Under Emtala, hospitals are required to stabilize the health of patients who show up in the midst of medical emergencies. But under Idaho’s ban, abortions are only permitted if a woman’s life is at risk – a much higher threshold.

Prelogar called the argument that Idaho’s abortion ban and Emtala can coexist “gravely mistaken”.

“It’s inconsistent with the actual text of the Idaho law, it’s inconsistent with medical reality and it’s inconsistent with what’s happening on the ground,” Prelogar said.

Under Idaho’s ban, she continued, “Doctors have to shut their eyes to everything except death. But under Emtala, you’re supposed to be thinking about: is she about to lose her fertility?’”

Moreover, she said, doctors and pregnant patients in Idaho – whose full abortion ban is currently in effect – are in reality not getting the care they are entitled to under Emtala.

“Women in Idaho today are not getting treatment,” Prelogar said. “They are getting airlifted out of the state.”

Three liberal justices express skepticism toward Idaho's arguments for strict abortion ban

The three liberal justices have all expressed skepticism towards Idaho’s argument against Emtala, the federal law that the Biden administration believes preempts strict state abortion bans.

Idaho was also in for some skeptical questions from Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative who was among the justices that overturned Roe v Wade in 2022. Oral arguments only provide a hint of how the justices may ultimately rule, and in order for Idaho to lose, it would need five votes against it. Should Barrett band together with the liberals, who might be the fifth?

A candidate for that place could be John Roberts, the chief justice and a conservative, but one who has occasionally acted as the court’s swing vote in recent years. In an exchange with US solicitor general Elizabeth Pelogar, he asked her to address the scenario of how Emtala would handle a hospital where all the doctors cited conscience objections to abstain from performing an emergency abortion.

“If the question is, could you force an individual doctor to step in, then, over a conscience objection, the answer is no … the question is whether or not they must have available someone who can comply with the procedures required by Emtala and what would be the consequence if they didn’t? Would it be eventual termination of their participation in Medicare?” asked Roberts, referring to the federal health insurance program that many hospitals participate in.

“That’s right,” replied Prelogar. “If a hospital was continually disobeying the requirement to have in place sufficient personnel to run their emergency room, then I imagine that (the US department of health and human services) enforcement action would work with that hospital to try to bring it into compliance, and if the hospital ultimately is just leaving itself in a position where it can never provide care, then it would terminate the Medicare funding agreement.”

When the court rules, we may find out if that answer was enough to assuage Roberts’s concerns.


Solicitor general pushes back against Idaho claim linking mental health emergencies and abortions

US solicitor general Elizabeth Prelogar pushed back against Idaho’s claim that a mental health emergency could necessitate an abortion under Emtala, a federal law that requires hospitals to stabilize patients in medical emergencies.

“There can be grave mental health emergencies, but Emtala could never require pregnancy termination as the stabilizing care,” Prelogar said.

“Why?” justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, interrupted.

“Here’s why,” Prelogar responded. “It’s because that wouldn’t do anything to address the underlying brain chemistry issue that’s causing the mental health emergency in the first place. This is not about mental health. Generally, this is about treatment by ER doctors in the emergency room. And when a woman comes in with some great mental health emergency, if she happens to be pregnant, it would be incredibly unethical to terminate her pregnancy – she might not be in a position to give any informed consent. Instead, the way you treat mental health emergency is to address what’s happening in the brain. If you’re having a psychotic episode, you administer antipsychotics.”

Prelogar later emphasized that in the Biden administration’s view, Emtala’s protections would never extend to abortions for people in mental health crises.


Earlier in the arguments, some of the conservative justices expressed confusion over whether Idaho’s ban conflicts with the federal law Emtala, which requires hospitals to stabilize patients facing medical emergencies.

“Is there any condition you’re aware of where the solicitor general says Emtala requires an abortion be available under an emergency circumstance where Idaho law says there is not?” asked justice Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative.

Yes, if someone wanted an abortion because of a mental health condition, replied Idaho deputy solicitor Josh Turner.

Kavanaugh seemed to move past Turner’s claim, indicating that the justices had not been briefed enough on that particular topic. But it struck his fellow conservative justice Amy Coney Barrett. If that’s the only daylight between Idaho’s ban and Emtala, she asked Turner: “Why are you here?”

Although Turner seemed to waver during oral arguments, Idaho has argued in court papers that its abortion ban does align with Emtala. Anti-abortion activists across the country have been making a similar argument: abortion bans do not preclude people from getting medically necessary abortions, and so they don’t need to be amended to further protect people in emergencies.

Doctors and patients say that, in reality, the exceptions written into abortion bans are so vague that they are unworkable. Dozens of women have launched lawsuits, including in a separate case in Idaho, saying that they were denied medically necessary abortions. Roughly 50 Idaho doctors have also left the state rather than try to navigate an abortion ban that carries a hefty criminal penalty for violations.

Biden administration argues Idaho law puts doctors, pregnant women in 'impossible position'

The supreme court is now hearing from US solicitor general Elizabeth Prelogar, who is asking the justices to allow federal law Emtala to require Idaho and other states with strict abortion restrictions to perform the procedure in cases of emergencies.

“Today, doctors in Idaho and the woman in Idaho are in an impossible position. If a woman comes to an emergency room facing a grave threat to her health, but she isn’t yet facing death, doctors either have to delay treatment and allow her condition to materially deteriorate, or they’re airlifting her out of the state so she can get the emergency care that she needs,” said Prelogar, who represents the Biden administration.

She continued:

One hospital system in Idaho says that right now, it’s having to transfer pregnant women in medical crisis out of the state about once every other week. That’s untenable, and Emtala does not countenance it. None of petitioners’ interpretations fit with the text, and so they try to make this case be about the broader debate for access to abortion in cases of unwanted pregnancy. But that’s not what this case is about at all. Idaho’s ban on abortion is enforceable in virtually all of its applications. But in the narrow circumstances involving grave medical emergencies, Idaho cannot criminalize the essential care that Emtala requires.


If the justices side with Idaho, Americans could be left with a federal emergency medicine law that is open to exempting disfavored people, conditions and treatments – for example emergencies involving people addicted to opioids, Aids-related emergencies or treatment for gender dysphoria.

Idaho’s quest to exert total control over abortion could also, in the long term, establish legal theory that undermines the federal government’s broader ability to regulate healthcare, the same way exempting the so-called abortion pill, mifepristone, from Food and Drug Administration analysis, would undermine drug regulation.

Both cases are about abortion on their face, but the legal theories underpinning them could have extraordinarily broad implications for the health of all Americans.


Justices hammer Idaho over whether abortions should only be allowed to save lives rather than fertility

The supreme court’s four female justices, including conservative Amy Coney Barrett, seemed taken aback by the claim by Idaho’s deputy solicitor general, Josh Turner, that a doctor could be prosecuted for performing an abortion in order to protect a woman’s health, rather than her life.

Idaho’s abortion ban only permits abortions in medical emergencies if a woman’s life is at stake. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a liberal, read off a list of real-life cases where women had their abortions delayed in medical emergencies. The problem with bans like Idaho’s, doctors say, is that doctors are forced to wait and watch until patients get so sick that their life is at risk – rather than intervening as soon as a health issue emerges.

After the story of one woman, who Sotomayor said lost her baby and was forced into a hysterectomy, the justice asked if, under Idaho’s law: “You’re telling me the doctor there couldn’t have done the abortion earlier?”

“It goes back to whether a doctor can in good-faith medical judgment – ” Turner started to say.

“That’s a lot for a doctor to risk,” Sotomayor interrupted. If a doctor violates Idaho’s abortion ban, they can face up to five years in prison.

Turner tried to insist that a doctor operating in good faith would not be prosecuted under the Idaho state legislature’s interpretation of its abortion ban.

Coney Barrett asked: “What if the prosecutor thought differently?”

“That is the nature of prosecutorial discretion,” Turner replied.


Emtala case turns on difference between abortion that protects woman's health and one that saves her life

The case that the justices are hearing right now, which deals with whether federal law protects hospitals’ ability to offer medically necessary abortions, turns on an oft-overlooked nuance in abortion law: the difference between an abortion that may protect a woman’s health versus one that may save her life.

All US abortion bans technically allow abortions in medical emergencies. But seven states, including Idaho, have bans on the books that say that the patient’s life has to be at risk — a higher standard than bans that allow for abortions when a patient’s health is in jeopardy.

The Biden administration sued Idaho over its ban, arguing that it conflicts with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or Emtala. Emtala requires hospitals to stabilize patients’ health when they are facing medical emergencies, including — in the Biden administration’s view — in cases where patients need abortions. If an Idaho doctor performs a “health-saving” abortion, they could run afoul of Idaho’s ban — but if they don’t, they could violate Emtala.

“Her life is not in peril but she’s going to lose her reproductive organs … unless an abortion takes place,” said Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal. “Now, that’s the category of cases where Emtala says: ‘My gosh, of course an abortion is necessary.’

“And yet Idaho says: ‘Sorry, no abortion here.’ And the result is these patients are now helicoptered out of state,” Kagan continued.

The problem with abortion bans, doctors say, is that it is not always clear when a patient’s life is at risk. And if doctors know that a pregnant patient’s condition may worsen, they want to help her – not wait until she’s on the brink of death.

Fellow liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor proceeded to read off a list of real-life cases where women’s abortions were delayed due to abortion bans, including the case of a woman who was ultimately forced to have a hysterectomy.


Idaho’s attorney Josh Turner argued that Emtala cannot override the state’s law to require medical treatment in contravention of its abortion ban.

He immediately received pushback from the court’s three liberal justices – Ketanji Brown Jackson, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

“The problem we’re having right now is that you’re sort of putting preemption on its head. The whole purpose of preemption is to say that if the state passes a that violates federal law, the state law is no longer effective,” said Sotomayor.

“If objective medical care requires you to treat women who are, who present the potential of serious medical complications, and the abortion is the only thing that can print them and that you have to do it.”


The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, better known to hospitals administrators nationally as Emtala, requires emergency rooms to stabilize patients regardless of their ability to pay.

The act is among Americans’ only universal federal rights to healthcare – one propelled into law by stories of private hospitals’ “dumping” patients who could not pay, including women in active labor, at public hospitals.

This law could be left in tatters if justices side with anti-abortion states, represented by Idaho. Emtala requires doctors to treat patients if they face a serious risk to health, treatment that includes exceedingly rare emergency room abortions, the Biden administration argues.

Idaho’s state law is in direct conflict with this federal right to health, because it only allows doctors to intervene with an abortion if a woman is about to die. On the one hand, Emtala can levy serious penalties against providers and hospitals if doctors do not treat women. On the other, doctors could serve jail time or lose their license if they violate Idaho’s law.


The arguments begin with opening statements from Josh Turner, Idaho’s constitutional litigation and policy chief.

He argued that the Biden administration is interpreting Emtala – the federal law that the White House argue requires hospitals to perform abortion in emergencies, even when that runs afoul of state law – too broadly.

“Everyone understands that licensing laws limit medical practice. That’s why a nurse isn’t available to perform open heart surgery, no matter the need, no matter her knowledge,” he said.

“The answer doesn’t change just because we’re talking about abortion. The court should reject the administration’s unlimited reading of Emtala and reverse the district court’s judgment.”


Supreme court begins hearing emergency abortion case

The supreme court has convened to hear a case from Idaho challenging the Biden administration’s requirement that federally funded hospitals carry out abortions in emergencies.

Follow along here as we cover it live.

What's at stake as the supreme court hears emergency abortion case?

The supreme court is about to hear arguments over whether federal law can require hospitals in states with abortion bans to perform medically necessary abortions.

The case originated in Idaho, which only permits abortions in medical emergencies if a patient’s life is at risk. The Biden administration has sued Idaho, claiming that Idaho’s stringent ban violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act – known as Emtala.

Idaho is expected to argue that its ban doesn’t conflict with Emtala, because Emtala does not mention abortion and cannot compel doctors to perform procedures that are illegal under Idaho law.

The case marks the second time this year that the supreme court, where the six conservative justices outnumber the three liberals, and which overturned Roe v Wade less than two years ago, has dealt with abortion rights. Last month, the justices also heard arguments in a case that deals with the availability of a common abortion pill.

A decision in the case is expected in June.


Protesters converge on supreme court ahead of hearing on emergency abortions

As the supreme court prepares to weigh whether Idaho’s abortion ban conflicts with the Biden administration’s insistence that federally funded hospitals carry out emergency abortions, protesters representing both sides of the debate are gathering outside:


Supreme court to hear conservative challenge to Biden policy requiring hospitals to provide emergency abortions

Good morning, US politics blog readers. The issue of abortion will once again be before the supreme court this morning, and the conservative justices who two years ago upended the country’s politics by voting to overturn Roe v Wade and allow states to ban abortions. In response to that decision, Joe Biden said that even states where the procedure is banned must still allow hospitals that receive federal funds to perform the procedure in an emergency, citing a 1986 law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or Emtala. Today’s legal tussle involves the deeply conservative state of Idaho, where abortion is prohibited unless a patient’s life is at risk in an emergency. The Biden administration sued the state, arguing that its law clashed with Emtala, and the justices now have to sort out the dispute.

The supreme court is dominated by a supermajority of six conservative justices against three liberals, but since dismantling Roe, they haven’t necessarily shown the same zeal for other efforts to further restrict abortion. About a month ago, the justices appeared skeptical of attempts by anti-abortion doctors to roll back the availability of mifepristone, a drug used nationwide in medication abortions. Today’s hearing begins at 10am ET, and we’ll be listening to the arguments for a sense of how they are leaning on this issue.

Here’s what else we are watching today:

  • Biden is expected to sign a bill approved by the Senate last night that authorizes $95b in aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, capping months of congressional wrangling over the contentious issue.

  • The Republican speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, is heading to Columbia University, which has been rocked by pro-Palestinian protests in recent days and police arrests of demonstrators. He will hold a press conference at 3:45pm this afternoon, and you can follow our live blog for more.

  • Summer Lee, a progressive Democratic congresswoman who faced a primary challenge over her support for a ceasefire in Gaza, easily won the party’s nomination again to represent her Pennsylvania district.


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