Idaho’s top court just stopped the state’s newest anti-abortion law from taking effect, The Daily Wire reports.
The law is S.B. 1309, and it’s called the “Fetal Heartbeat, Preborn Child Protection Act.” It is Idaho’s version of the controversial Texas Heartbeat Act, which has been making headlines.
Idaho’s Congress, with its Republican majorities in both the state senate and house, easily passed S.B. 1309 last month. The bill made it through the Senate by a vote of 28–6 and the house, by a vote of 51–14.
After that, it was up to Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) to sign the bill into law, which is what he did.
Just like the Texas law after which it’s modeled, Idaho’s S.B. 1309 makes it illegal for an abortion to be performed once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which tends to be around the six-week mark of the pregnancy. The law does provide exceptions in the cases of incest, medical emergencies, and rape.
Idaho’s S.B. 1309 also has the same unique enforcement mechanism as its Texas counterpart. It allows Idaho citizens, except for rapists, to bring a lawsuit against an abortion provider within four years of the performance of an abortion for at least $20,000.
Idaho’s S.B. 1309 was scheduled to go into effect on April 22, until it was hit with a legal challenge.
The legal challenge
Planned Parenthood Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, and Kentucky as well as Idaho physician Caitlin Gustafson have legally challenged the law. They’re arguing that the law violates Idaho’s constitution.
Given that the law was set to go into effect within weeks, Planned Parenthood filed a motion with the Idaho Supreme Court asking it to expedite the legal proceedings. The court agreed, which led to the state asking the court to give it some extra time to prepare its legal brief. The court also agreed to this, and now the state has until April 28 to file its brief, and Planned Parenthood will then have two weeks to respond.
The question is what is going to happen to S.B. 1309 while these legal proceedings are taking place. The court, at the request of both parties, has decided that S.B. 1309 will not go into effect during this period.
Planned Parenthood has celebrated this as a preliminary victory.
It put out a statement saying, “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.”