Gem State Roundup

Idaho’s abortion trigger ban clock starts now — ban will take effect Aug. 25

By: - July 26, 2022 3:48 pm

Although the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24, the court did not complete its official judgment until Tuesday, meaning the 30-day clock on Idaho's trigger law banning nearly all abortions will go into effect on Aug. 25. (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)

Although the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24, the court did not complete its official judgment until today, meaning Idaho’s trigger law banning nearly all abortions will now go into effect on Aug. 25.

According to the text of Senate Bill 1385, the trigger law takes effect 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court issues its judgment returning the power to regulate abortion to the states.

Idaho passed its trigger law in 2020, making the act of abortion a felony. The law outlines affirmative defenses for rape, incest and to save the patient’s life, which allows a person prosecuted for performing an abortion procedure to use those reasons as a defense. A rape or incest victim would also have to provide a copy of a police report to the physician who would perform the procedure, a process which can sometimes take weeks or months.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging the law on June 27, saying it violates a fundamental right to privacy outlined in the Idaho Constitution. That lawsuit came a few months after a similar challenge from Planned Parenthood over Idaho’s Texas-style law that allows family members to file civil suits against medical professionals who perform abortions. Both cases were filed by Planned Parenthood Great Northwest and one of its abortion providers in Idaho, Dr. Caitlin Gustafson.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, the Idaho Supreme Court vacated its original plans for a hearing on the Texas-style law and decided to use the same date to hear specific arguments related to how that lawsuit and the challenge to the trigger law should proceed.

The hearing will include arguments over whether the Idaho Supreme Court should pause enforcement of the trigger law pending the outcome of the case, whether a pause on the Texas-style law should remain in place pending the outcome, whether the two lawsuits should be consolidated into one and whether both cases should be transferred to district court for further review.

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 3. Those who want to attend the hearing in person are required to request tickets for seating. Details and instructions on how to reserve tickets can be found here.


Planned Parenthood files third lawsuit with Idaho Supreme Court over six-week abortion ban

Planned Parenthood Great Northwest and one of its Idaho abortion providers, Dr. Caitlin Gustafson, filed a third lawsuit Tuesday with the Idaho Supreme Court attempting to block a six-week abortion ban that is scheduled to take effect on or around Aug. 19. The Idaho Legislature passed a bill in 2021 criminalizing abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, when fetal cardiac activity can typically be detected by ultrasound.

Like the trigger law, the language in that bill included a 30-day clock from a judgment issued by an appellate court ruling on a similar law. According to Planned Parenthood’s petition to the court, that may have occurred on July 20, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld Georgia’s six-week abortion ban.

Because of the time constraints, Planned Parenthood has asked the court to intervene and pause implementation of the law, and to add the third lawsuit to the hearing scheduled on Aug. 3. Katie Rodihan, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, said the organization would prefer to consolidate the three cases into one moving forward.

“It’s confusing to providers and to patients if all of those cases don’t get ruled the same way or all together,” Rodihan said. “Our hope would be to simplify everything by ruling on them all at once.”

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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.