Idaho Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Abortion After Six Weeks

The Idaho Legislature passed a bill on March 14 that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and would allow potential family members to sue against an abortion provider.

The state House approved Senate Bill 1309, dubbed the “Fetal Heartbeat, Preborn Child Protection Act,” in a 51-14 vote after the Senate passed it earlier this month.

The bill now heads to Republican Governor Brad Little for his signature.

Idaho becomes the first state to pass a legislation similar to Texas’ controversial law, which went into effect last September and is one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States.

Under the Idaho bill, the potential father, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles of a “pre-born child” can sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $20,000 in damages within four years of an abortion, except for cases of medical emergency, rape, or incest.

If a medical professional is convicted of “criminal abortion,” they could face two to eight years in prison.

Critics of the Idaho bill argued that it was unconstitutional and that six weeks of pregnancy is before many know they are pregnant.

“Physicians and medical providers around the world live by a simple principle: ‘First, do no harm.’ Sadly, Idaho politicians have not taken a similar oath, and are determined to ban abortion, no matter the harm it would inflict on their constituents,” Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Chief Executive Jennifer Allen said in a statement.

Allen called on Little to “do the right thing, listen to the medical community, and veto this legislation before it forces Idaho patients to leave the state for critical, time-sensitive care or remain pregnant against their will.”

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