Home Medical profession Idaho Supreme Court temporarily blocks implementation of new abortion law

Idaho Supreme Court temporarily blocks implementation of new abortion law

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The Idaho Supreme Court on Friday issued an order temporarily blocking the implementation of a new Texas-style abortion law, as the court prepares to consider a legal challenge to the Idaho law.

Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice G. Richard Bevan signed the order which suspended the implementation of Senate Bill 1309, which would allow relatives to sue a medical professional who performs an abortion after heart activity is detected, for a minimum of $20,000. The law is modeled after a Texas abortion law and extends Idaho’s Fetal Heartbeat Unborn Child Protection Act, which the Idaho legislature passed via House Bill 366 in 2021.

The Idaho Attorney General’s Office issued an advisory saying the law would likely ban nearly all abortions in Idaho and would likely be ruled unconstitutional if challenged in court.

Governor Brad Little signed into law Senate Bill 1309 on March 23 after writing that he supported the bill’s pro-life policies but feared it was “proven both unconstitutional and reckless.”

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A few days later, on March 29, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest filed a petition in the Idaho Supreme Court seeking to block the implementation of the law and have it thrown out and declared unconstitutional.

Proponents of the law say Senate Bill 1309 would reduce the number of abortions.

But in its legal petition, Planned Parenthood argued that the bill is an “unprecedented power grab” that would “wreak havoc” on the lives of Idahoans and their rights.

“The enforcement mechanism and substance of SB 1309 is patently unconstitutional, so much so that the Idaho Attorney General’s Office issued an advisory to that effect, and the Governor highlighted similar concerns upon signing” , the attorneys for Planned Parenthood wrote. “Even setting aside the fundamental right to privacy in intimate family decision-making guaranteed by the Idaho Constitution, the bill’s flaws are glaring and numerous: it violates the separation of powers doctrine ( art. II, § 1); Idaho’s prohibition of special legislation (Art. III, § 19); the prohibition by the due process clause of excessive and vague penalties (art. I, § 13); the guarantee of the confidentiality of information (art. I, §§ 1, 2, 17, 21); and the equal protection clause (art. I, §§ 1, 2). SB 1309 should be invalidated for one of these independent reasons only. Yet it goes even further, effectively banning pre-viability abortions in Idaho, in violation of the petitioners’ patient rights under nearly fifty years of precedent.

Contacted late Friday afternoon, Little’s publicist, Marissa Morrison-Hyer, said Little’s office does not comment on ongoing litigation.

The law would have gone into effect on April 22 without the Idaho Supreme Court’s new order temporarily blocking its implementation while the court reviews the law.