Aug 13, 2022 - Health

Idaho bans abortion at 6 weeks, trigger law to take effect

Picture of abortion rights supporters in Idaho
Photo: Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Idaho Supreme Court on Friday allowed a six-week abortion ban to take effect and refused to block the state's trigger ban, which is set to take effect on Aug. 25.

Driving the news: Abortion providers sued state officials in June, shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, arguing that the law was "constitutionally vague" and therefore should be "invalidated and declared unconstitutional."

  • The near-total ban makes abortion illegal in Idaho unless needed to save a pregnant person's life or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.

Catch up fast: The six-week ban had been blocked since April. Gov. Brad Little (R) signed the bill into law in March, making it at the time the first state to model a law after Texas' six-week ban, which encourages private citizens to sue any health professional who has provided an abortion.

  • Idaho's ban allows the person receiving the abortion or a relative to sue providers for a minimum $20,000 reward.
  • Abortions past the sixth week of pregnancy are only allowed in cases of a medical emergency. It also has exceptions for cases of rape or incest, as long as they have been reported to law enforcement.

What they're saying: "It’s been a little over a month since the U.S. Supreme Court disregarded 50 years of precedent and threw patients across the country into a world of chaos, fear, and confusion,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, the plaintiff in the case.

  • "The Idaho state legislature has made it abundantly clear that this is the future they want for their constituents, and today, the court allowed their vision to become a reality."
  • Gibron added that it is not over: "These cases and our fight to ensure that every Idahoan has access to legal, safe abortion care will continue."

What's also happening: Earlier this month, the Biden administration filed a lawsuit challenging Idaho's trigger ban.

  • The Justice Department said in its lawsuit that the ban's exceptions are "extremely narrow" and conflict with federal law.
  • This case is still ongoing.
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