Mar 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Idaho governor signs Texas-style abortion ban into law

Picture of Idaho Gov. Brad Little
Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) on Wednesday signed into law a bill that outlaws abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant, per AP.

Why it matters: Idaho is the first state to model a law after Texas' six-week abortion ban, which encourages private citizens to sue any health professional who has provided an abortion.

  • The bill will go into effect 30 days after Little's signature.

Details: Unlike Texas' ban, Idaho's S.B. 1309 does not allow any private citizen to sue, it only allows the person receiving the abortion or a relative to sue providers for a minimum $20,000 reward — doubling the penalty established in Texas' law.

  • While the law does have exceptions for rape and incest, if the person became pregnant as a result of rape, the rapist's family members can sue medical providers.
  • Additionally, in order for a person to qualify for the exception, they must have reported the rape or incest to law enforcement and show a police report to the abortion provider.

What they're saying: "I stand in solidarity with all Idahoans who seek to protect the lives of preborn babies," Little wrote in a letter to Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who also serves as the president of the state Senate, per AP.

  • "This development is devastating for women in Idaho, as it will further impede women’s access to health care, especially those on low incomes and living in rural communities," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. "[T]he President again calls on Congress to act and send a bill to his desk to shut down these radical steps."

A Planned Parenthood affiliate has urged people in the state to stock up on birth control and Plan B after the bill was signed, adding that the organization and its allies would work to help people access abortion care in other states.

Between the lines: The first month after Texas' ban took effect, clinic abortions in the state dropped by 60%.

  • Planned Parenthood clinics in neighboring states saw a nearly 800% increase in abortion patients from Texas.

What to watch: A bill banning nearly all abortions also modeled after Texas' law is currently making its way through Oklahoma's legislature, meaning the state could become the next one to have a bill enforced via private civil lawsuits.

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Editor's note: This post has been updated with additional details throughout.

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