By KEITH RIDLER Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation aimed at banning abortions in Idaho after six weeks of pregnancy by allowing potential family members to sue the doctor who performs one headed to the governor Monday.
The House voted 51-14 without Democratic support to pass the legislation inspired by a Texas law that the Supreme Court of the United States has allowed it to remain in force until a judicial challenge on its merits is decided.
“This bill ensures that the people of Idaho can stand up for our values and do everything in our power to prevent the wanton destruction of innocent human life,” Republican Rep. Steven Harris, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement. statement after the vote. .
The measure has already passed the Senate and is now headed to Republican Gov. Brad Little. Marissa Morrison, a spokeswoman for Little, said Monday that the governor had not seen the bill and is not commenting on pending legislation.
Jennifer M. Allen, executive director of the Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, a nonprofit group that works in Idaho and five other states, urged him to reject it.
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“Gov. Little must do the right thing, listen to the medical community and veto this legislation before it forces Idaho patients to leave the state for critical and urgent care or remain pregnant against their will,” he said in a statement.
But Little last year signed a similar contract the so-called “fetal heartbeats” measure in law. That included a trigger provision that required a favorable ruling from a federal court somewhere in the country, and that hasn’t happened.
Idaho’s latest measure allows the parent, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles of an “unborn child” to sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $20,000 in damages within four years of the termination. abortion.
Harris noted that it is a much smaller group of people than is granted under Texas law.
That was part of the legal strategy of the bill’s supporters, he said. “We thought it would better withstand any (court) challenge.”
Opponents of the Idaho legislation said it is unconstitutional and that it takes six weeks for many women to find out they are pregnant. The legislation prevents rapists from suing, but relatives of a rapist could sue under the proposed law, Harris acknowledged.
“The vigilante aspect of this bill is absurd,” said Democratic Rep. Lauren Necochea. “Its impacts are cruel and it is flagrantly unconstitutional.”
Necochea said the country is at a “crisis point” for reproductive rights. “And this legislation is part of the plan to completely restrict, eliminate almost all access to abortion care for any reason in Idaho.”
A handful of states have introduced similar legislation copying the Texas law, but Idaho’s version appears to have gone further.
Idaho already has another abortion law in place, signed by Little, which would kick in if the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that declared abortion rights nationwide. The court has a 6-3 conservative majority after three appointments by then-President Donald Trump.
If activated, the Idaho law passed in 2020 would ban all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother. That law would go into effect in Idaho 30 days after the Supreme Court’s decision.
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