Lawmakers Send Texas-Styled Abortion Bill to Idaho Governor

Photo credit: Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service

Idaho is the latest state to attack abortion rights in the United States. Legislation aimed at banning abortions in Idaho at the six-week mark by allowing potential family members to sue doctors performing abortions has been sent to the state governor for approval. 

The bill is modeled after the controversial and sweeping Texas abortion ban, which also bans abortions at the six-week mark, which is before almost all people know they are pregnant.

The Texas law also makes civilians bounty hunters, placing enforcement into the hands of civilians by offering enormous rewards of $10,000 and more for successful lawsuits against anyone, from drivers to pharmacists to doctors, who “aids or abets” someone trying to get an abortion after six weeks. The Supreme Court has allowed it to remain in place while a court challenge is decided. 

In Idaho, the house voted 51-14 to approve the legislation, down party lines. 

The measure previously passed in the Senate, and now will land on the desk of the Republican Governor, Brad Little. Considering his party lines, it is expected to pass. 

Last year, Little signed a similar “fetal heartbeat” measure into law that included a trigger provision requiring a favorable federal court ruling somewhere in the U.S., which has not yet happened. 

This latest measure allows the father, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles — any “potential family” member — to each sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $20,000 in damages after an abortion. 

The bill specifically took the strategy of limiting who could seek damages in tens of thousands of dollars than the Texas bill in order to ensure the bill holds up better in court challenges. 

Opponents of the bill point to the unconstitutional nature of the bill. 

Idaho is not the only state that has tried to copy Texas’ law, but it has advanced the furthest so far. 

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