Idaho's abortion laws spark national debate, may pave the way for a restrictive trend

The abortion trafficking bill is the first of its kind
Idaho Abortion Bill
Posted at 4:10 PM, May 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-29 19:54:23-04

BOISE, Idaho — Over the last year, Idaho has enacted several laws chipping away at the right to abortion, spearheaded by an outright ban on the procedure after the six-week mark for cases involving rape or incest, or situations where the life of the mother is threatened.

Most recently, the state has made it a felony, with up to a five-year prison sentence, to assist a minor in getting an abortion across state lines without the consent of their parents.

Though many states require parents to be included in the abortion process for minors, this amendment to House Bill No. 242 is the first to criminalize abortion care with no parental involvement.

This law makes Idaho the first state in the nation to pass a law explicitly restricting out-of-state travel for abortions at some level and it seems likely for this trend to continue.

In response to this, at least one Idaho hospital (Bonner General) has discontinued its labor and delivery services, and studies regarding maternal morality are being shut down this summer.

According to the President of the American Medical Association, Dr. Jack Resneck, "we're going to have a workforce crisis where patients in these restrictive states are going to have a tougher and tougher time finding doctors."

Experts worry that the trafficking bill could increase tensions across state lines, as women seeking the procedure may flock to neighboring states like Oregon and Washington which have extremely lenient abortion laws. The bill could put doctors in these states at risk of prosecution for providing care to Idaho women, and shield laws will likely be required to ensure they continue their practice.