Idaho governor signs bill banning most abortions if Roe is overturned

A pro-life activist holds up a sign reading 'Courageously Abolishing Abortion,' outside the Court in Washington, June 26, 2014.
A pro-life activist holds up a sign reading "Courageously Abolishing Abortion," outside the Court in Washington, June 26, 2014. | Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg

Idaho will ban most abortion procedures if the United States Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, according to a newly signed law.

Idaho Governor Brad Little signed Senate Bill 1385 last week, which will be triggered if the Supreme Court decides to allow states to decide whether or not to allow for abortions.

Earlier this month, SB 1385 received strong support in the state legislature, being passed by a vote of 27-7 in the Senate and 49-18 in the House of Representatives.

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“Every person who performs or attempts to perform an abortion as defined in this chapter commits the crime of criminal abortion,” read SB 1385 in part.

“Criminal abortion shall be a felony punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of no less than two (2) years and no more than (5) years in prison.”

The ban exempts abortions performed due to rape, incest, or if a woman is facing a medical emergency in which the baby cannot be saved. It also prohibits criminally punishing the woman seeking an abortion.

Republican state Senator Todd Lakey, the sponsor of the bill, championed the legislation as a measure that will eventually save lives.

“We don’t know when the Supreme Court will change. But it may happen in the nine months when we’re not in session. The ability to take action is a question of time,” stated Lakey, as reported by Life News.

“If this bill can save the life of one unborn child, then it is worth it. It becomes effective without a need for future legislative action.”

The pro-life group Idaho Chooses Life supported the legislation, arguing that it will eventually “begin instructing a new generation of Idahoans that the taking of innocent life is wrong.”

“In fact, it is a crime. It says to all Idahoans that the State of Idaho rejects the contention that preborn children do not matter,” stated the group.

Critics of SB 1385 included the Idaho chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued the legislation would damage access to women’s health.

“This legislation would prevent Idaho women from accessing safe and long-held legally protected abortion care, which is a critical component of their health and dignity, as well as independence, freedom, and social and economic equality,” stated the ACLU of Idaho.  

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