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May 29, 2024 4:05 am

Local News

NV pro-choice advocates back emergency abortion law targeted in SCOTUS case

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Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service

Nevada health-care providers, patients and advocates are responding to the U.S. Supreme Court case that’ll determine the future of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.

The federal law mandates Medicare-funded hospitals provide patients with stabilizing care in emergency situations, which include abortions.

Dr. Christine Miyake is an emergency physician with the Valley Health System in Las Vegas, and said abortions are sometimes a necessary part of health care.

“I saw a patient who ruptured her membranes early and developed a severe uterine infection,” said Miyake. “She was dying from that infection. If they were not able to provide the abortion, she surely would have died – as no amount of antibiotics would’ve helped her.”

Miyake said abortion bans around the country have driven physicians out of their respective states – causing hospitals to shut down their labor-maternity wards, making it harder for women to access what she called “basic pregnancy care.”

In Nevada the right to an abortion is protected though state law, but an initiative petition is working to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution.

Laura Campbell is the director of the National Organization for Women’s Nevada Chapter, and said she received lifesaving care while she was pregnant – and contended that EMTALA is key to protecting the very care that saved her life.

But anti-abortion proponents argue that state laws that ban abortion access can coexist with the federal law. Campbell disagreed.

“With total bans on abortions in neighboring states like Arizona, Utah, and Idaho,” said Campbell, “there is no question that Nevadans deserve to have their abortion rights protected in the state constitution to ensure that no judge or politician can strip away the right to make their own health-care choices.”

Eighty-six percent of the public supports protecting access to abortion for patients experiencing pregnancy-related emergencies, according to a recent KFF poll.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.