Appellate Court: Idaho's Abortion Rules Are Unconstitutional

May 29, 2015

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Idaho's laws restricting abortions after 20 weeks and requiring all second-trimester abortions to take place in a hospital are unconstitutional.

The ruling Friday upholds a judgment made two years ago by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

The case arose after eastern Idaho resident Jennie McCormack was charged with having an illegal abortion. Prosecutors said she obtained an abortion-inducing drug on the Internet and used it to terminate her pregnancy.

The charge was later dropped. Meanwhile McCormack and her attorney, Richard Hearn, sued. Hearn is also a medical doctor who intervened on behalf of himself and his future patients.

The unanimous three-judge panel agreed that the ban on abortions after 20 weeks was unconstitutional because it restricted abortions of a non-viable fetus. The appellate court also said the hospitalization requirement was unconstitutional because it places an undue burden on a woman's ability to obtain abortions.