Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a bill on Tuesday that bans an abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.
“Idaho is a state that values the most innocent of all lives — the lives of babies,” the governor wrote in a statement. “We should never relent in our efforts to protect the lives of the preborn.”
Little added, “Hundreds and hundreds of babies lose their lives every year in Idaho due to abortion, an absolute tragedy. I appreciate Idaho lawmakers for continuing to protect lives by passing this important legislation, and I am proud to sign the bill into law today.”
The law could punish a doctor who provides an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected with up to five years in prison per the occurrence.
The bill provides exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies.
The Bill’s Fine Print
One unique aspect of the new Idaho law is a built in trigger provision. The provision means the bill will not go into effect until an appeals court upholds it, according to The Associated Press.
Idaho is not the first state to pass a heartbeat bill. Both Georgia and South Carolina passed similar measures that were later blocked in court.
Montana and Oklahoma have also recently passed similar bills, according to CNN.
Critics Attack the New Pro-Life Bill
Critics have argued against the measure in two key ways. First, pro-choice advocates argue the exception for rape or incest places undue burden on a woman to prove rape or incest within a short time following the event.
Second, the measure currently does not change legalized abortion in Idaho. One Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocate took to Twitter to declare the news.
Let’s be clear: Nothing changes today or in the future. Abortion is still legal in Idaho, even after six weeks. This is a trigger law that would ONLY begin IF a similar ban is upheld in a separate court. And, of course, we’ll sue to stop it then. #idleg #idpol #politicalgames https://t.co/t4rdr6nle4
— Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates – West (@PPAAWest) April 27, 2021
Pro-life supporters in Idaho and nationwide rejoice, yet realize the bill serves as only one step in the process.