'Bans pose enormous threats': Idaho doctor suing state over abortion bans discusses lawsuits, why she joined

Dr. Caitlin Gustafson
Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 19:25:31-04

IDAHO — The Idaho Supreme Court heard oral arguments about Idaho’s abortion bans Wednesday morning. Now the court is deciding how to proceed with two different lawsuits brought against the strict state abortion laws and one lawsuit is still waiting to be taken up.

Planned Parenthood’s regional branch, alongside Idaho Dr. Caitlin Gustafson, filed three lawsuits against Idaho's total trigger ban and six-week abortion restrictions, claiming the laws are too vague and could have serious health implications for women.

Gustafson, who has been practicing family medicine in Idaho since 2007, told Idaho News 6 she decided to join to the lawsuit to stand up for herself, her patients and fellow physicians in Idaho.

Related: Multiple lawsuits are pending against Idaho abortion laws. Here's what to know.

Caitlin Gustafson

Related: Reactions as Planned Parenthood lawsuit hearings begin in Idaho Supreme Court

“These bans pose an enormous threat to my patients, to their health, to their safety,” she said. “Also on part of myself and my fellow physician colleagues for the impossible position that these bans put us in. Forcing us between breaking the oath we take to take care of patients and the risk of breaking the law.”

Gustafson said there are many reasons why a woman may need an abortion like miscarriages, tubal pregnancies, high-risk health conditions, cancer treatments, and fetal conditions that are not compatible with life which could all put a mother’s life and health at risk.

“What people who aren’t in the exam room with us may not understand is that these decisions are very complex often They are medically complex. They are personally complex,” she said. “There are situations that no one would ever imagine they would find themselves in.”

The Supreme Court could redirect this to a lower district court before taking up the issue, but there is no timeline on when any decision could be made by the Idaho Supreme Court.