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Abortion Bans


Idaho outlaws abortion after 20 weeks without an adequate exception to protect women's health or for cases in which the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  Idaho Code § 18-501 to 18-510 (Enacted 2011). 

Idaho's law makes abortion after 20 weeks a felony of an undefined class, unless necessary to save a woman's life or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions, or to preserve the viability of another fetus.  In addition, the law allows the woman or the man involved in the pregnancy to bring a civil suit for damages against the physician.  It also allows the woman, her parents, her husband, her siblings, her other health-care providers, or the state attorney general to file for injunctive relief blocking the abortion provider from providing abortion care after 20 weeks in future instances.  Idaho Code § 18-501 to 18-510 (Enacted 2011).

A judge found the ban unconstitutional, permanently blocking its enforcement. However, the case is currently on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. McCormack v. Hiedeman, F.Supp.2d, 2011 WL 9150843, D. Idaho, (2011).

Idaho has an unconstitutional and unenforceable ban that outlaws abortion procedures as early as 12 weeks.  Idaho Code §§ 18-605 (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 2001), 18-613 (Enacted 1998).

This law makes any abortion procedure that falls within a broad definition a felony punishable by a fine of up to $5000, imprisonment for two to five years, or both, and - if the person is licensed or certified to provide health care - professional discipline and a civil penalty.  The law has an exception if the abortion is necessary to save a woman's life endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.  Idaho Code § 18-605 (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 2001).

A court held the ban on care provided as early as 12 weeks unconstitutional because its language is "void for vagueness," and because the ban has no exception to protect women's health.  The court issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the law's enforcement.  Weyhrich v. Lance, No. CV98-0117-S-BLW (D. Idaho Oct. 12, 1999).  The U.S. Supreme Court held that a similar ban that has no exception to protect a woman's health and that bans more than one procedure is unconstitutional.  Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman's health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure.  Click here to read more about the Federal Abortion Ban.


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