Idaho Supreme Court temporarily blocks new pro-life law from taking effect

In March, Idaho passed into law a pro-life measure modeled after Texas legislation that would, in effect, ban most abortions in the state after about six weeks and allow for civil suits against those who provide illegal abortions.

That law, which was set to take effect on April 22, has now been temporarily blocked by the Idaho Supreme Court, Fox News reported.

Had the law gone into effect, it would have prohibited abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected — with exceptions for incest, rape, and medical emergencies — and would allow family members of an aborted baby — father, siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles — to sue abortion providers in civil court for up to $20,000.

High court halts law temporarily

According to local media outlet KIVI-TV, abortion providers Planned Parenthood sued the state to block the law from going into effect and the Idaho Supreme Court just ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor.

In the order signed by Chief Justice G. Richard Bevan, the state was given a deadline of April 28 to file responsive motions arguing why the law should be permitted to go into effect.

Of course, the outlet noted that Planned Parenthood of Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, and Kentucky, which filed the lawsuit on March 30, cheered the temporary ruling in its favor in a statement and said, “We are thrilled that abortion will remain accessible in the state for now, but our fight to ensure that Idahoans can fully access their constitutionally protected rights is far from over.”

Governor predicted the law would be challenged

The Idaho Supreme Court’s ruling isn’t entirely unexpected, as Gov. Brad Little had noted the possibility of adverse litigation when he signed the bill into law on March 23.

In a letter to Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who also serves as president of the state Senate, Little expressed his stance in solidarity with the pro-life movement and opposition to the so-called right of abortion created by the Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

However, he wrote, until those rulings were overturned or altered, abortion remains legal nationwide and, “While I support the pro-life policy in this legislation, I fear the novel civil enforcement mechanism will in short order be proven both unconstitutional and unwise.”

Banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected

Fox News noted that Idaho is one of about 12 Republican-led states that have passed pro-life legislation modeled after the Texas law, which sparked great controversy last year but was permitted to go into effect pending litigation challenges by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, even if this particular law in Idaho is ultimately struck down, the state already passed a separate fetal heartbeat bill that is waiting in limbo to be triggered by a favorable court ruling anywhere in the nation for such laws before going into effect.

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