Supreme Court Leaks Opinion Overturning Extreme Abortion Ban

Andrew Harnik
Andrew Harnik

The U.S. Supreme Court suffered another embarrassing leak of a major abortion rights ruling on Wednesday when it briefly posted an order forcing Idaho to allow emergency abortions.

The order in Moyle v. United States and Idaho v. United States was uploaded in error and has not been officially released, meaning it does not yet have the power of law.

But if the 6-3 decision that was posted is the one that is officially published, it would be a major blow to an anti-abortion drive by Republican states.

Idaho is among Republican-run states that brought in draconian abortion bans after the handing down in June 2022 of Dobbs v. Jackson, the ruling under which a Republican-appointed majority on the court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed federal abortion rights since 1973.

Dobbs v. Jackson was itself the subject of a deliberate leak, to Politico in May 2022, setting off a political firestorm that has not died down.

An investigation of the leak did not name a culprit.

From President Joe Biden down, Democrats have made Republican attacks on reproductive rights a key campaign theme, fueling significant victories.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two major rulings in other areas. But Bloomberg News said it had seen a copy of the Idaho ruling that was briefly posted on SCOTUS’ website.

SCOTUS’ Women Justices Rip Into Idaho Lawyer on Abortion Law

According to the outlet, the decision said Idaho must yield to a 1986 law that says patients have to be able to receive emergency treatment at hospitals that receive federal Medicare funding, even if two statutes regarding such treatment conflict.

The justices voted 6-3 to lift a stay previously placed in the case, Bloomberg reported, saying the three dissenters were by most measures the three most stringent right-wingers on the court: Samuel Alito (author of the Dobbs decision), Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch.

According to Bloomberg, Elena Kagan, one of three liberals on the court, wrote that the decision “will prevent Idaho from enforcing its abortion ban when the termination of a pregnancy is needed to prevent serious harms to a woman’s health.”

Another liberal justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, reportedly wrote, “Today’s decision is not a victory for pregnant patients in Idaho. It is delay.

“While this court dawdles and the country waits, pregnant people experiencing emergency medical conditions remain in a precarious position, as their doctors are kept in the dark about what the law requires.”

According to NBC, Supreme Court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe confirmed a document was “inadvertently and briefly uploaded” but said the ruling “has not been released.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.