In an exclusive based on documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, Washington-based health policy reporter Amanda Seitz reported on complaints that pregnant women were being turned away from emergency rooms in the months after Roe v. Wade was overturned, despite federal law requiring that they be treated.

When Roe v. Wade was overturned, the Biden administration looked at the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act as a safety net to ensure that pregnant women experiencing a medical emergency could get abortions in states where the procedure had been banned.

After hearing anecdotally that this wasn’t the case, Seitz was unable to get clear answers from the administration. She submitted a FOIA request in February 2023 seeking information about pregnancy-related complaints under the federal law.

After almost a year of waiting, the FOIA office finally agreed to release records but said it would take another four years to get the documents. With a crucial U.S. Supreme Court case pending, Seitz didn’t let up and negotiated a limited release of some documents in certain states.

In March, she finally got what she was looking for: a rundown of complaints about violations in the months after Roe was overturned in 2022. The documents showed a spike in the number of complaints post-Roe and included horrific accounts of pregnant women receiving improper care. But they left open the question of what penalties ERs were facing for violating the law. As Seitz pored through the documents and started to get reaction, Katie Vogel from the digital team put together an innovative social media plan. Karena Phan helped put together an Instagram post that attracted more than 1,000 likes.

While many other news organizations wrote about the upcoming Supreme Court arguments on the EMTALA law, AP was alone with the detail about the complaints spiking.

The New York Times published an opinion piece based on the story. People and USA Today credited the AP in their own stories about the upcoming Supreme Court case. “Powerful,” “appalling,” “heartbreaking” and “horrifying” were some of the adjectives the piece elicited on social media and elsewhere.

For showing the impact of the law that is supposed to guarantee rights to emergency abortion now being ignored since the Roe v. Wade decision, and providing a valuable factual reference for lawmakers, the public and the courts on the issue, Seitz is Best of the Week — First Winner.

Visit to request a trial subscription to AP's video, photo and text services.

For breaking news, visit

02092024 Advancing Footer