After report on abortion in Idaho, Supreme Court admits document “briefly” uploaded

Washington — The Supreme Court said Wednesday that a document was “inadvertently and briefly” uploaded to its website after Bloomberg News reported that a copy of an opinion in a highly anticipated case involving Idaho’s near-total ban on abortion was briefly posted online.

The opinion, in a pair of cases that pit Idaho’s law against a federal measure that requires hospitals to perform emergency abortions, would reinstate a lower court order that blocked Idaho from enforcing its near-total ban when an abortion is needed to preserve the health of the mother, according to Bloomberg

The news outlet said the copy of the opinion posted briefly indicated the court divided 6-3, with Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch in dissent. The version posted indicated the Supreme Court’s majority will dismiss Idaho’s appeal, according to Bloomberg. It said the copy of the opinion briefly appeared on the court’s website Wednesday. The final decision in the cases, known as Moyle v. U.S. and Idaho v. U.S., is set to be released in the coming days as the Supreme Court nears the end of its term.

A spokesperson for the Supreme Court said in a statement that the opinion in the cases “has not been released.”

“The Court’s Publications Unit inadvertently and briefly uploaded a document to the Court’s website,” the spokesperson said. “The Court’s opinion in these cases will be issued in due course.”

The dispute was the first in which the Supreme Court reviewed a state law outlawing abortions. Idaho’s measure was enacted after high court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 and allows abortions only when necessary to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. 

But the Biden administration has argued that the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, requires hospitals that participate in Medicare to provide stabilizing treatment, including abortions, to patients with an emergency medical condition.

If a state law prohibits abortions, or includes an exception that is more narrow than what EMTALA requires, it is overridden by the federal law, according to the Biden administration.

But Idaho officials have argued that EMTALA is silent on whether stabilizing care requires abortions and cannot displace a state’s own restrictions on the procedure.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case in April and a ruling is among the most closely watched of the term. The high court is scheduled to release additional decisions Thursday and Friday.

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