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Gov. Brad Little signs bill banning abortions after 6 weeks

Brad Little
Posted at 1:49 PM, Mar 23, 2022

BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little signed the Texas-style abortion bill, which outlaws abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy and allows potential family members to sue the provider, into law.

Little signed the bills into law Wednesday, saying 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 has "significant concerns" regarding the laws impact on victims of sexual assault.

"Ultimately, this legislation risks re-traumatizing victims by affording monetary incentives to wrongdoers and family members of the rapists," Little wrote.

The law allows the potential father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles of a preborn child to sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $20,000 in damages within four years of the abortion. Rapists couldn’t file such a lawsuit, but a rapist’s relatives could.

Related: Abortion rights rally at the Capitol after SB 1309 passed both the House and Senate

Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Idaho officials said the law is a "blatant violation" of the right to abortion access.

"Shame on Governor Little. This law is unconstitutional, dangerous, and an assault on the hundreds of thousands of Idahoans of reproductive age,” Jennifer M. Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, said in a statement. “This cruel ban will harm the very people who already face the highest barriers to health care: people with low incomes, people of color, people living in rural areas, and LGBTQ people. There is no excuse or justification for the trauma and harm this law will cause. The people of Idaho deserve better than politicians who put extremist politics ahead of their constituents’ health and safety."

Related: California governor signs law that makes abortions cheaper

The Idaho Family Policy Center said in a statement the organization is "confident" the law will survive any legal challenges and will protect unborn babies.

"Today marks a historic day for the State of Idaho, which has now taken an unprecedented step in reversing five decades of bad policy," President of the Idaho Family Center Blaine Conzatti said in a statement. "Sadly, tens of thousands of precious babies have been murdered since the Idaho legislature legalized abortion in 1973. But just one month from now, much of that needless slaughter will finally end. And I promise that we will keep fighting until every preborn child is valued and protected by law, no matter the stage of development."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement Wednesday, calling the now-law "devastating for women in Idaho" and urged Congress to take action to "shut down these radical steps."

We knew that when Texas passed SB8, its extreme law that blatantly violates the constitutional right reaffirmed by Roe v. Wade, it would invite other states to follow. Today, Idaho became the first state to adopt a similar law – a six-week restriction relying on private citizens to enforce the law. This development is devastating for women in Idaho, as it will further impede women’s access to health care, especially those on low incomes and living in rural communities.

Over the last six months, Texas’s SB8 has had profoundly negative effects–with women forced to travel hundreds of miles to access care, and clinics in neighboring states seeing a significant increase in demand since the law went into effect. This is unacceptable, which is why President Biden directed a whole of government response to protect women’s rights that are currently under attack.

The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to stand with women and support their right to make their own health care decisions, a constitutional right that Roe v. Wade reaffirmed nearly five decades ago. And the President again calls on Congress to act and send a bill to his desk to shut down these radical steps.

Little signed the "fetal heartbeat" bill into law last year, which is enforced by the state and includes a trigger provision, requiring a federal court ruling in the U.S. That bill makes it illegal to perform an abortion once a heartbeat is detected and providers could face up to five years in prison. However, that law was never triggered.

Read the full letter here: