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Idaho Senate approves Heartbeat Law banning abortions after the 6th week

by | Mar 4, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

On Thursday, by an overwhelming margin of 28-6, the Idaho Senate voted to prohibit abortion after six weeks. The bill, Senate Bill 1309, now moves on to the House.

“If it passes the Republican-led House and is signed by Gov. Brad Little (R), Idaho’s abortion ban could take effect as early as April, several months before the Supreme Court is expected to rule in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that will determine the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban and determine the future of Roe,” Caroline Kitchener wrote.

“Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to halt the slaughter of the unborn in Idaho,” said Idaho State Sen. C. Scott Grow. “No matter the outcome of the Mississippi challenge, between now and the time of that Supreme Court decision, this Idaho bill will potentially deter the abortion of hundreds.”

 State Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, the bill’s co-sponsor asked, “Does the baby have the same right as the mother? Most of us believe that it does.”

The impact in Texas of the Heartbeat Law (SB 8) has been phenomenal. “Simply by having SB8 enacted, thousands of lives have already been saved in Texas,” Attorney General  Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Stopping abortion providers from conducting these barbaric practices is yet another win for our great state. I will continue to fight tirelessly for the rights of the unborn.”

Under the Texas Heartbeat Act, abortions may not be performed after the unborn child’s heartbeat is detectable – generally around the sixth week of pregnancy. Fetology textbooks show that the heart begins to beat in the developing child between 18 and 21 days after fertilization

Idaho’s bill is different than Texas’s. For one thing, assuming the bill passes the House and Gov. Gov. Brad Little signs it, the bill would take effect in just 30 days.

For another thing, “In crafting their own version of the Texas law, Idaho lawmakers narrowed the list of people who can sue and be sued,” wrote Caroline Kitchener of the Washington Post. “Unlike Senate Bill 8 in Texas, which allows any private citizen to file a lawsuit, including those with no connection to the person seeking an abortion, the Idaho law can be enforced only by the abortion patient or their family members, including the father of the fetus and the patient’s children, parents and siblings,” according to Kitchener. In addition under provisions of the Idaho bill, only abortion providers could be sued.

Leaders of Planned Parenthood Alliance called the bill “extreme” and said they were planning to challenge the Idaho bill if Gov. Little signs it. 

Categories: State Legislation
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