Idaho Superior Court Allows Near-Total Abortion Ban To Take Effect


(Reuters) – Idaho’s highest court on Friday refused to block a Republican-backed state law criminalizing nearly all abortions from taking effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision of 1973 Roe v. Wade who recognized a constitutional right to process.

In a 3-2 decision, the Idaho Supreme Court rejected a bid by a Planned Parenthood affiliate to block a ban from taking effect Aug. 25 that the abortion provider says would violate the privacy and equal protection rights of Idahoans under the state constitution. The measure allows abortion only in cases of rape, incest or to prevent the death of a pregnant woman.

The court also lifted an earlier order it issued in April blocking a separate Idaho law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy enforced through private citizen suits, allowing it to take effect immediately.

Judge Robyn Brody, writing for the court, said that given the US Supreme Court’s June ruling, Planned Parenthood was not entitled to the “drastic” relief she was seeking, noting that the Abortion was illegal in Idaho before the Roe decision.

“Furthermore, what the petitioners are asking this Court to ultimately do is declare a right to abortion under the Idaho Constitution when – on the face of it – there is no none,” Brody added.

Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement called the decision “horrific and cruel.”

Idaho state officials did not respond to requests for comment.

About half of U.S. states have or are expected to seek to ban or reduce abortions following the June 24 ruling by the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, who legalized the procedure nationwide.

Those states include Idaho, which, like 12 others, passed “trigger” laws banning abortion on such a decision. Earlier Friday, Louisiana’s highest court rejected an appeal by abortion rights supporters seeking to block a similar ban.

The Idaho court did not rule on the merits of Planned Parenthood’s ban challenge and instead said it would hear arguments Sept. 29.

Judge John Stegner, in a dissenting opinion, said the court should have proceeded more cautiously and blocked the ban in the meantime, saying that “never in the history of our nation has a fundamental right once been granted to its citizens has been revoked”.

On August 2, the US Department of Justice separately sued in an attempt to block Idaho’s ban, saying it violated a federal law requiring hospitals to perform abortions in medical emergencies. if necessary. The lawsuit, which will be heard Aug. 22, was the first action by the federal government challenging state abortion laws after Roe’s overturning.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Will Dunham)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.


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