New bill would criminalize ‘trafficking of minors’ to receive abortions in or outside of Idaho
Bill also extends ‘sole discretion’ to Idaho attorney general to prosecute abortion-related crimes
A bill that would add the act of transporting, recruiting or harboring minors to seek an abortion to Idaho’s criminal human trafficking law was introduced in the House State Affairs Committee on Tuesday by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls. (Otto Kitsinger for the Idaho Capital Sun)
A bill that would add the act of transporting, recruiting or harboring minors to seek an abortion to Idaho’s criminal human trafficking law was introduced in the House State Affairs Committee on Tuesday by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls.
The bill also gives Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador the authority and “sole discretion” to prosecute a person for violating any section of the section of law around human trafficking or abortion if the prosecuting attorney in the respective county refuses to bring charges.
Idaho’s abortion ban applies to any stage of pregnancy, with affirmative defenses for cases of rape and incest with an accompanying police report and if an abortion is necessary to save the pregnant person’s life.
House Bill 98 would specifically apply to instances of transporting children under the age of 18 to receive an illegal abortion in Idaho or an abortion in a state where the practice is legal, as it is in border states like Oregon and Washington. Abortion is also permitted in up to 18 weeks of pregnancy in Utah while the state’s trigger law is under consideration by the courts.
The bill states that those who recruit, harbor or transport pregnant minors “with the intent to deprive the pregnant minor’s parents of knowledge of, and to procure, a criminal abortion” would be in violation of the law and subject to two to five years in prison.
In the event of prosecution, the bill allows affirmative defenses in court for parents or guardians who consented to the transportation of the child, but explicitly states that seeking the abortion or abortion-inducing drugs in another state is not a defense.
The committee did not discuss the bill and agreed to print it. Ehardt provided few details in her introduction, but said it should be something both chambers of the Legislature can agree on.
“We will make sure that we have top-notch legal authority to deal with this,” Ehardt told the committee. “I don’t think any of us want to see our minors not only trafficked, but in this situation.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Kevin Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs; Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa; and Sen. Cindy Carlson, R-Riggins. It could receive a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee in the coming days of the legislative session.
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