Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Suit Challenges Idaho Invalidation of Pregnant Women's Living Wills

Suit was filed in an Idaho federal district court last week challenging the constitutionality of an Idaho statute that invalidates a woman's health care advance directive if the woman is pregnant.  The complaint (full text) in Almerico v. Denney, (D ID, filed 5/31/2018) alleges in part:
That law improperly infringes on the right to privacy in making medical decisions and subjects women of child bearing age to unequal and demeaning treatment in multiple ways. First, the law on its face eliminates the right of a woman who has been diagnosed as pregnant to have her express decisions about medical treatment, including whether to request or decline life-sustaining measures, honored by her health care providers. Second, the law renders ineffective the right of a woman who has been diagnosed as pregnant to designate her health care agent. Third, because of the law, the effectiveness of the health care directives of all women of childbearing age in Idaho is thrown into question until each woman’s pregnancy status is determined. Additionally, Defendants have exceeded the statute’s mandate by publicly stating that not only will the health care directives of women who have been diagnosed as pregnant be rendered null and void, but they will be forced to receive life-sustaining treatment for the duration of their pregnancies.