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Post-Viability Abortion Restriction

Idaho has an unconstitutional and unenforceable provision in its law that states that no abortion may be provided after viability, construed as when a fetus is "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid," unless the attending physician and another consulting physician concur that an abortion is necessary to preserve the woman's life or that the fetus, if born, would be unable to survive.  Consistent with accepted medical practice and with the well-being and safety of the woman, the physician must provide the procedure in a manner consistent with the "preservation of any reasonable potential for survival of a viable fetus."  Idaho Code §§ 18-604(13) (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 2000; Renumbered 2006), 18-604(14) (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 2000; Renumbered 2006), 18-608(3) (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 2000).

This law unconstitutionally prohibits post-viability abortion necessary to preserve the woman's health.  See Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 165 (1973).  The Idaho attorney general has issued an opinion that this lack of a health exception is unconstitutional.  Idaho Op. Att'y Gen. No. 98-1 (Jan. 26, 1998).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortion so long as they contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman's life and health.  NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes Idaho's post-viability restriction because it does not contain an exception to protect the health of the woman.

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