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Yelp, Levi’s, Lyft and Tinder tell SCOTUS: Idaho abortion laws are bad for business

Jessica Kumple holds a sign at a 2023 abortion rights protest. Businesses told the U.S. Supreme Court that Idaho’s restrictive abortion laws are impacting the state economically. | Sarah A. Miller, Idaho Statesman
(Idaho Statesman) — Some surprising voices have joined the chorus of legal experts, physicians and activists weighing in on Idaho’s abortion ban: Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and Match.
The dating apps and several other high-profile businesses and national chamber of commerce organizations in a joint amicus brief urged the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret federal law to provide an emergency exception to Idaho’s abortion ban, and argued that the state’s strict abortion laws are bad for businesses and have already cost Idaho millions in economic losses.
The businesses join dozens of advocacy groups and medical and legal experts who have submitted amicus briefs to the court, which will hear arguments later this month to determine whether the federal Emergency Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) supercedes Idaho’s abortion ban. While most briefs argue on moral, religious, legal or medical grounds, the 10 business entities — which include the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Lyft ridesharing, Levi Strauss, Yelp and various dating apps — focused instead on economics.
The brief cited a January study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that, prior to the overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022, estimated the economic impact of abortion restrictions in Idaho at about $1.2 billion per year on average. Idaho was among the top 10 states with the highest economic losses, the study found. It analyzed state abortion laws like mandatory pre-abortion counseling and waiting periods, both of which Idaho had.
Idaho passed its most stringent abortion law, called the Defense of Life Act, in 2020 with a “trigger” that would allow it to go into effect as soon as states regained authority over abortion laws, as they did in 2022. The amicus brief said the state can expect even more economic losses now that more stringent abortion laws are in place.
“This might seem an unusual case for businesses to raise concerns over economic issues,” the brief said. “But the hard truth is that Idaho’s attempt to carve out an exception to the federal guarantee of emergency medical care for pregnant women raises critical — and even existential — concerns for businesses across the country, especially those that are women-owned and operated.”
Idaho is losing labor and money, businesses say
Forty-five amicus briefs have been filed with the court. Groups that claim a vested interest in the outcome of a case can submit amicus briefs, also called “friend of the court” briefs, to provide additional context and legal arguments to the judges.
At the center of the case is Idaho’s strict abortion law, implemented in 2022 with the overturn of Roe v. Wade. It has narrow exceptions, allowing abortions only when a pregnant person is at risk of death or in cases of rape or incest that have been reported to police. Shortly after the law went into effect, the Department of Justice sued Idaho and said the lack of an exception for a pregnant patient’s health violates EMTALA, which requires hospitals to treat patients experiencing medical emergencies regardless of their ability to pay for treatment.
The businesses’ amicus brief said Idaho’s abortion ban has had a cascading economic impact, starting with the medical community. The brief pointed to plummeting OB-GYN numbers and growing maternal health care deserts as hospitals across the state shutter or curtail their operations. In the last 15 months, Idaho has lost 22% of its obstetricians, according to data compiled by the Idaho Physician Well-Being Action Collaborative, leaving the state with around 176 of the specialists.
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Not only are medical professionals less willing to work in Idaho, the groups said, the resulting shortage of reproductive health care is turning other women away from jobs in Idaho. Some even turn down job opportunities that require travel to places with strict abortion bans.
“Legal restrictions on reproductive health care impact important decisions on where people live and work,” the brief said. “And these concerns are intensified when access to emergency reproductive health care is limited.”
The businesses said they struggle in states like Idaho to recruit and keep top talent.
“What is bad for business is also bad for state economies,” the brief said.
The study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research said the U.S. lost an estimated $173 billion annually because of abortion restrictions.
The post Yelp, Levi’s, Lyft and Tinder tell SCOTUS: Idaho abortion laws are bad for business appeared first on East Idaho News.

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