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

Idaho Statehouse
Posted at 5:13 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 19:26:42-04

IDAHO — When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade in June, the power to regulate abortion reverted to individual states. Now, many of those states, including Idaho, are now scrambling to figure things out.

In Idaho, there are multiple abortion-ban laws and three different lawsuits pending, all from Planned Parenthood. Currently none of Idaho's abortion laws have taken effect and abortion is still legal here for now.

Oral arguments in the Idaho Supreme Court Wednesday focused on two of those suits, which target two Idaho laws such as the total trigger ban and the civil enforcement component of the fetal heartbeat law.

Related: Department of Justice suing State of Idaho over abortion ban, claims it violates federal law

Idaho lawmakers passed the trigger ban law in March of 2020, but it was designed not to take effect until the supreme court's ruling automatically 'triggered' it.

It bans almost all abortions with few exceptions for rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger and includes criminal penalties for doctors. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to block the total trigger ban, stating the language is too vague making it confusing for physicians to decide what procedures are necessary. If the challenge fails, the ban is set to take effect on August 25.

The other pending law challenged today is the six-week ban, which amends the fetal heartbeat protection act. It includes a civil enforcement mechanism, passed by the legislature earlier this year and is inspired by a Texas bill.

Related: Planned Parenthood, doctor file another lawsuit against Idaho's 6-week abortion ban

This civil enforcement mechanism allows family members to sue abortion providers for providing care, for a cash reward of a minimum of $20,000. The ban was set to go into effect earlier this year, but is currently on blocked by the Idaho Supreme Court.

Idaho lawmakers also passed a six-week trigger ban with criminal enforcement provision in March 2020. The law criminalizes abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and would punish providers with 2-5 years in prison and possibly revoke their medical license if they violate the ban. 

Planned Parenthood is also challenging this law, but the supreme court has not taken any action on this case yet.