Lawyers sparred Monday, September 17 over an abortion reporting law that passed earlier this year and went into effect July 1. It mandates health providers hand over information to the state about women receiving abortions – including if they have any of 37 so-called complications named in the law.
The plaintiffs in the case are Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands and the ACLU of Idaho. They filed a complaint against the state in July claiming the reporting law is unconstitutional.
Despite the numerous complications spelled out in the law, Deborah Ferguson, the attorney who argued the case on behalf of the organizations, says they’re not specific enough.
“They range from very serious complications like death to failure, inability or refusal to have a follow up visit – or any emotional condition reported by a patient,” says Ferguson.
Given what the groups believe to be vagaries in the law, chief legal counsel for the regional Planned Parenthood branch, Hannah Brass Greer, says the unclear terms could result in over reporting by care providers. That, she worries, could spread undue fear about the procedure.
“The concern we have for patients is that there’s going to be this overall false narrative of how unsafe abortion in Idaho is, when it couldn’t be further from the truth,” Brass Greer says.
If health care providers – including doctors and nurses – don’t comply with the law, they face penalties including jail time and revocation of their ability to practice medicine.
A spokesperson for the Idaho Attorney General’s Office says they don’t comment on pending litigation. Monday’s proceedings centered on a request by the groups for a preliminary injunction while the merits of the law are weighed by the court.
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