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

Planned Parenthood Meridian
Posted at 11:23 AM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 14:09:48-04

Planned Parenthood and an Idaho doctor filed another lawsuit to block the state's 6-week abortion ban.

The 6-week ban, known as the fetal heartbeat bill, was signed into law in 2021. The law makes it illegal to perform an abortion on a woman in Idaho once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is commonly understood to occur at approximately six weeks from the last menstrual period (“LMP”), the lawsuit states. Providers could face up to five years in prison and the woman who receives the abortion would be allowed to sue the provider.

The lawsuit, filed by Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky and Caitlin Gustafson M.D., claims the law is "unlawful and unenforceable under the Idaho Constitution and the Idaho Human Rights Act." The lawsuit seeks to block the law to prevent "inferior Idaho courts from enforcing" the law and prevent law enforcement from enforcing it.

Related: Roe v. Wade overturn: How does it impact Idaho's Supreme Court abortion case?

Without intervention, the 6-week ban would go into effect Aug. 19, 2022, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit petitions the fetal heartbeat law is unconstitutional for the same reasons the other two laws Planned Parenthood filed lawsuits against are: it violates the right to privacy, the Idaho Constitution's equal protection guarantee as well as the Idaho Human Rights Act's prohibition against sex discrimination. The lawsuit also claims the 2021 law is too vague and therefore void.

Planned Parenthood officials and Gustafson request in the lawsuit the court provide "emergency relief as soon as possible and no later than August 18, 2022." If it goes to oral arugments, petitioners request to schedule oral arguments on August 3 when the two other lawsuits will be in court.

Planned Parenthood's previous lawsuits to block Idaho abortion bans

Related: ‘Unclear’ language in Idaho’s abortion trigger law causes confusion

The regional branch of Planned Parenthood first filed a lawsuit with the Idaho Supreme Court in March 2022 to block the "Texas-style" abortion ban Gov. Brad Little signed into law following the 2022 legislative session. The 2022 law bans abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy and allows potential family members to sue the provider

At the time Little signed the 2022 bill into law, he said in a statement he stands with Idahoans "who seek to protect the lives of preborn babies." While he signed the bill, Little wrote in his transmittal letter he had "significant concerns" regarding the laws impact on victims of sexual assault.

The second lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky and abortion provider Gustafson in June 2022 to block Idaho's trigger law that would take effect after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

This law, which was passed and signed by Little in 2020, would take effect summer of 2022. The ban outlaws abortions with exceptions for rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother. Planned Parenthood's lawsuit claims the ban "violates Idahoan's right to privacy and equal protection under the Idaho Constitution."

The June 2022 lawsuit contends this ban has terms too vague so medical providers will not be able to adequately determine when they can provide care for a patient.

Read the newest lawsuit here: