Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state of Idaho related to the state’s trigger law that will ban nearly all abortions — a law that is scheduled to take effect on Aug. 25, barring the Idaho Supreme Court issuing a stay on the law on Wednesday.

The lawsuit is based on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires hospitals that receive federal Medicare funds to provide the necessary treatment to stabilize patients who come to a hospital with a medical emergency. The lawsuit says Idaho’s trigger ban on abortion violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it is in conflict with the act.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the lawsuit in a press conference on Tuesday, saying abortion falls under emergency stabilizing care in some situations, and Idaho’s trigger law creates an “untenable choice” for medical providers.

“In some circumstances, the medical treatment necessary to stabilize the patient’s condition is abortion,” Garland said at the press conference. “This may be the case, for example, when a woman is undergoing a miscarriage that threatens septic infection or hemorrhage or is suffering from severe preeclampsia.”

Garland said Idaho’s law will make it a felony for doctors to provide emergency medical treatment that is required by federal law, and while the trigger law includes language that creates an affirmative defense when an abortion is performed to prevent a pregnant person’s death, it does not include an exception if an abortion is necessary to prevent “serious jeopardy” for a person’s health.

“Moreover, it would subject doctors to arrest and criminal prosecution even if they performed an abortion to save a woman’s life, and it would then place the burden on the doctors to prove that they are not criminally liable,” Garland said.