Attorney General William Tong Credit: Christine Stuart photo

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong joined 21 other attorneys general in briefs to defend access to abortion care, especially in emergency situations. 

“Emergency rooms are required to provide lifesaving treatment under federal law. Period,” said Attorney General Tong. “In a variety of emergency scenarios, that includes abortion. That decision must be made by medical experts and patients — not politicians. State laws—including the Texas and Idaho abortion bans—cannot force doctors to endanger the lives of their patients.”

The amicus briefs filed in USA v. Idaho and Texas v. Becerra argue that hospitals should be able to perform abortions as emergency medical treatment. 

For example, since Texas’ abortion ban took effect on September 1, 2021, pregnant people in Texas have experienced delays in treatment and corresponding harms to their health, Tong said. Doctors in Texas reported postponing care “until a patient’s health or pregnancy complication has deteriorated to the point that their life was in danger, including multiple cases where patients were sent home, only to return once they were in sepsis.”

Texas filed a lawsuit challenging the enforcement of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires hospitals to provide stabilizing emergency treatment — including abortions, if medically indicated.

Texas filed a lawsuit challenging the federal governments longstanding interpretation and seeking to remove abortion care from emergency healthcare under the law. 

In 2020, Idaho enacted a law, which criminalizes all abortions and imposes prison time on anyone who performs, assists, or attempts to perform an abortion – even in the context of emergency care. The amicus brief filed by Tong supports the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Idaho for enacting the law arguing that it conflicts with protections afforded by the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. 

Earlier this year, Connecticut passed a law that seeks to prevent states with policies prohibiting abortions from extraditing patients who chose to have the procedure in Connecticut or doctors who provide the procedure here.