Lawmakers are sending an abortion bill in the form of Texas to Idaho’s governor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Legislation aimed at banning abortions in Idaho after six weeks of pregnancy by allowing potential family members to sue a doctor who performs one and turn to the governor Monday.

The House voted 51-14 without Democratic support to approve legislation modeled on a Texas law that the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed to remain in place until a lawsuit is settled on its justification.

“This bill ensures that the people of Idaho can stand up for our values ​​and do everything in our power to prevent the ruthless destruction of innocent human lives,” the Republican rep said. Steven Harris, sponsor of the bill, in a statement after the vote.

The measure has already passed the Senate and is now going to Republican Gov. Brad Little. Marissa Morrison, Little’s spokeswoman, said Monday that the governor had not seen the bill and did not comment on the pending legislation.

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Jennifer M. Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, a nonprofit group working in Idaho and five other states, urged him to reject it.

“Gov. Little must do the right thing, listen to the medical community and veto this legislation before forcing Idaho patients to leave the state for critical, time-sensitive care or remain pregnant against their will,” she said in a statement.

But Little signed a similar so-called “fetal heartbeat” measure into law last year. It contained a trigger provision that required a favorable federal court decision somewhere in the country, and that has not happened.

The latest Idaho measure allows the father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles of an “unborn child” each to sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $ 20,000 in compensation within four years of the abortion.

Harris noted that it is a much smaller group of people than what is under Texas law.

That was part of the bill’s legal strategy, he said. “We thought it would hold up better to any (court) challenges.”

Opponents of the Idaho law said it was unconstitutional and six weeks is before many women know they are pregnant. The law prevents rapists from suing, but the relatives of a rapist can each sue under the proposed law, Harris acknowledged.

“The vigilante aspect of this bill is absurd,” said Democratic Representative Lauren Necochea. “Its effects are cruel, and it’s manifestly unconstitutional.”

Necochea said the country is at a “crisis point” for reproductive rights. “And this legislation is part of the plan to completely restrict, eliminate almost all access to abortion treatment for any reason in Idaho.”

A handful of states have put forward similar legislation copying Texas law, but Idaho’s version seems to have come the furthest.

Idaho already has another abortion law in place – signed by Little – that would be triggered if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling declaring a nationwide right to abortion. The court has a 6-3 Conservative majority after three appointments by then-President Donald Trump.

If triggered, the Idaho Act passed in 2020 would ban all abortions except in the case of rape, incest or to protect the mother’s life. That law would take effect in Idaho 30 days after the Supreme Court ruling.

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