Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed a near total abortion ban law on Wednesday. It’s scheduled to take affect in 30 days, but lawsuits are expected to filed before then.
Idaho’s ban allows for everyday citizens to sue abortion providers for at least $20,000 in damages if they provide an abortion after the fetal heartbeat can be detected. Six weeks after the woman’s missed menstrual period is before many women even realize they’re pregnant. There is no limit on how many family members could file individual lawsuits, potentially bankrupting an abortion provider.
“This bill is blatantly unconstitutional, and we are committed to going to every length and exploring all our options to restore Idahoans’ right to abortion,” said Rebecca Gibron, Interim CEO for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaiʻi, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, the organization that operates Idaho’s three abortion clinics. “I want to emphasize to everyone in Idaho that our doors remain open. We remain committed to helping our patients access the health care they need, including abortion.”
Following the fate of Texas Senate Bill 8—the legislation Idaho S.B. 1309 was modeled after—at the Supreme Court, the judicial system has little hope of intervening, thereby allowing pregnant people to continue accessing abortion while the law makes it way through the court system, if a lawsuit was filed.
This is the first copycat of S.B. 8 to be signed into law. “The Supreme Court’s refusal to block Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional bounty-hunting scheme opened the door for anti-choice lawmakers in Idaho to adopt this cruel ban on abortion to enact in their own state,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said in a statement to Jezebel. “It’s no surprise that anti-choice lawmakers are moving to take advantage of what they see as a loophole to bypass the constitutional right to abortion for as long as it stands.”