Idaho abortion ban goes into effect with new exceptions

Idaho Dems Conference Abortion Ban
Posted at 6:06 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 20:06:18-04

Idaho's abortion ban went into effect on August 25, with a few new exceptions.

In a ruling on August 24, a federal judge sided with the United States Department of Justice, as parts of the ban conflicted with federal law. The Department of Justice filed the lawsuit in early August, arguing the ban violated the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA. The judge's ruling will now stop the state from prosecuting doctors who act during a medical emergency.

Before the ruling, the law would have allowed a provider who performs the procedure to be charged with a felony, meaning doctors could have faced up to five years in prison or had their license revoked.

"The Trigger law is a great next step toward ensuring the legal protection of all preborn babies, but it's not our final goal," said Blaine Conzatti, President of the Idaho Family Policy Center. "We're going to keep pushing until every preborn child, regardless of the circumstances of their conception, receives equal protection in every area of state law." Conzatti also helped author Idaho's fetal heartbeat bill.

Planned Parenthood's response emphasized the judge's ruling that Idahoans who need emergency care must have it. "While the abortion ban will take effect tomorrow, this ruling means that Idaho cannot ignore federal law–and that includes ensuring people can still receive abortions in hospitals in emergency situations," said Alexis McGill Johnson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, in a press release on August 24. "We will continue to do all we can to protect vital health care and fight for the rights of the people of Idaho."

In a press release sent Wednesday, Idaho Democratic lawmakers said they are calling on the attorney general to end the opposition to the Justice Department's lawsuit to block the law.

At a press conference Thursday, the Democratic caucus says the ban should have never been passed in the first place. The group believes the legislature should move on and work on issues that help Idahoans' access to health care and other issues like property tax relief, housing shortages and education funding.

"We ask the state and legislature to stop burning taxpayer dollars on groundless legal appeals that will succeed only in telling women in this state that they are second-class citizens," said Idaho House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-18).

Beyond the money, Idaho Democrats emphasized that EMTALA and the total abortion ban are incompatible by aiming to imprison doctors who provide the procedure.