Texas-style abortion bill heads to Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s desk
Bill allows relatives to sue the medical professional who performs an abortion
The Idaho House of Representatives in session at the Idaho Capitol on April 6, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
A bill that would allow relatives of a pregnant woman to sue a medical provider who performs an abortion after cardiac activity is detected is on its way to Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s desk for final consideration.
On Monday afternoon, the Idaho House of Representatives voted 51-14 to pass Senate Bill 1309. The bill allows the pregnant woman, father, grandparents, aunt, uncle or sibling of an unborn child to sue the medical provider who performed the abortion for a minimum of $20,000.
The bill is modeled after a Texas abortion law and expands on Idaho’s Fetal Heartbeat Preborn Child Protection Act, which the Idaho Legislature passed via House Bill 366 in 2021.
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Supporters said the bill is an effort that will result in fewer abortions in Idaho.
“We heard in testimony in the committee; we heard in testimony here today that this will end many abortions in Idaho,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian. “Let’s save some babies.”
During debate on the floor Monday and in recent committee hearings on the bill, opponents worried the bill is unconstitutional, would prevent most abortions in Idaho and could lead women to seek unsafe abortions and reproductive care.
“This bill will have a chilling effect on doctors and community health centers,” Rep. Lauren Necochea, D-Boise, said on the House floor Monday.
The bill passed by the Idaho House by a comfortable 51-14 margin, though some anti-abortion Republicans voted against the bill because it applies to abortions performed after cardiac activity is detected, not the moment of fertilization.
Senate Bill 1309 previously passed the Idaho Senate 28-6 on March 3. Once the bill reaches Little’s desk, he has five days (not counting Sundays) to sign it, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. If Little vetoes the bill, it would be returned to the Legislature, which would have the opportunity to override a veto with a two-thirds majority vote of both the Idaho Senate and the Idaho House.
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