The Idaho Supreme Court on Friday temporarily blocked a new state law that would ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and allow the law to be enforced through lawsuits. Last month, Idaho became the first state to enact the legislation, which was modeled after the Texas statute banning abortions after about six weeks. The ruling from Idaho’s high court in a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood means the new law won’t go into effect as planned on April 22nd. The state Supreme Court instructed both sides to file further briefs as it considers the case before its ultimate decision.
Republican Gov. Brad Little last month signed into law the measure that would’ve allowed people who would have been family members to sue doctors who perform abortions after the initial early cardiac activity is detected in embryos. But when he signed it, Little said he had concerns about whether the law was constitutional.
The decision comes amid a nationwide fight over access to abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority signaled the willingness in a Mississippi case to severely erode or even strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal nationwide until a baby can survive outside the womb. Numerous states with Republican majorities are poised to follow the strictest interpretation of the ruling. If Roe is overturned, 26 states are certain or likely to quickly ban abortion.
Idaho's Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a recently enacted six-week abortion ban from taking effect – the Idaho law is modeled on the Texas law that allows private citizens to sue abortion providers. pic.twitter.com/O3fYgnjuZe
— ᒪᗩᑎᑕᗴ 🏳️🌈 (@LanceUSA70) April 9, 2022
The Idaho law would also allow the father, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles of a “preborn child” to each sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $20,000 in damages within four years after the abortion. Rapists can’t file a lawsuit under the law, but a rapist’s relatives could.
Really no words for this cruel Texas-style bill heading to Gov. Brad Little's desk: Idaho Senate Bill 1309 would ban abortion after six weeks, and it allows family members of rapists to sue medical providers.
Here's some of the discussion before it passed the House: pic.twitter.com/5F1yRD7wIn
— The Recount (@therecount) March 15, 2022
Planned Parenthood’s regional office had called the law unconstitutional. “We are thrilled that abortion will remain accessible in the state for now, but our fight to ensure that Idahoans can fully access their constitutionally protected rights is far from over,” Rebecca Gibron, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, and Kentucky, said in a statement after Friday’s court action.