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Gov. Little signs ‘abortion trafficking’ bill into law

Idaho abortion rally
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Hundreds of pro-abortion rights advocates rallied in front of the Idaho Capitol Saturday May 14, 2022. They were protesting a leaked opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that's poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to the procedure.

Idaho is poised to become the first state in the country to make it a crime to help a minor get an abortion without their parent’s consent after Gov. Brad Little signed the bill into law Wednesday.

That’s according to Planned Parenthood, the pro-abortion rights group which has said it intends to challenge the law. Barring any court action, it will take effect in 30 days.

The law also applies to someone obtaining abortion pills for a minor in Idaho unbeknownst to their parents.

If convicted, a person could spend between two to five years in prison under the law. While parental consent negates the crime, it will still be possible for a person to be charged and have to defend themselves in court.

The Idaho Attorney General’s office would be able to prosecute the offense if a local prosecutor declines to do so.

Idaho has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country. They’re only allowed to be performed in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in jeopardy, but abortions are available in several neighboring states.

Oregon and Washington both have far looser abortion laws, with Washington not requiring parental permission at any age.

Montana still allows abortions under its state constitution,according to a state supreme court decision in 1999.

The procedure is legal – for now – in Wyomingafter a judge stepped in last month to halt a ban passed by the state’s legislature. That’s because the Wyoming Constitution states adults have the right to make their own health care decisions.

Supporters argue it’s a parental rights issue, while opponents say it could prevent a child who’s the victim of rape or incest from getting an abortion if they don’t feel safe reporting the abuse.

They also question the constitutionality of the law since the federal government has oversight of interstate travel.

In a short letter explaining his decision, Gov. Little wrote the law doesn’t interfere with interstate travel. Instead, it “...seeks only to prevent unemancipated minor girls from being taken across state lines for an abortion without the knowledge and consent of her parent or guardian.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wrote a letter Tuesday to Little urging him to veto the bill, saying it will have “many unacceptable consequences.”

“I fear that our residents, in particular the women and girls of Washington, will be in grave danger if they travel to your state and find themselves in need of urgent reproductive health care services,” Inslee wrote.

He also mentioned the flight of physicians and health care providers from Idaho, saying he welcomes them to Washington with “open arms.”

“But, make no mistake, Governor Little, the laws of another state that seek to punish anyone in Washington for lawful actions taken in Washington will not stand.”

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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