There’s no way to be honest without this being heavy. In less than 24 hours, Idahoans will have fewer rights than they have today.
Tomorrow is a dark day for Idaho – it’s one we’ve been anticipating since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which doesn’t make it any less scary. Idaho is now a state that controls pregnant people’s bodies, a state that celebrates the closure of healthcare clinics and endorses crisis pregnancy centers, a state that prevents its community from accessing basic public health.
We’re here to be transparent about what is happening, what your rights are, and what’s changing tomorrow.
Idaho’s ban is one of the strictest in the nation, banning all abortion except to save the life of the pregnant person and in cases of rape and incest (only if the crime is reported to law enforcement). While the law does not criminalize pregnant people themselves, it does impose criminal liability on healthcare providers, as well as those who help someone else obtain an “unlawful abortion.”
This law will carry grave consequences for anyone pregnant, those who help others access abortion care, and healthcare providers. We’ll also see outsized impacts on victims of sexual violence, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, young people, people with disabilities, and people of color, as we’ve seen elsewhere in the country.
Exceptions to Abortion Ban
Exceptions exist for abortion in cases of rape or incest, with the additional burden of the pregnant survivor having to report the incidents to law enforcement, or child protective services in the case of a child, and provides the written report to the physician performing the abortion. The law also allows abortion for a “medical emergency” but does not define that term, which creates uncertainty for doctors and patients.
Already, patients experiencing miscarriages are having to wait until they are in sepsis before providers will treat them. Alternatively, they are having to travel to other states to receive treatment. That is because the law does not make clear what it means for a patient’s life to be at risk.
Bounty Hunter Law
Idaho’s anti-abortion law authorizes people to sue the doctor who performed the abortion up to four years later. The parent, grandparent, sibling and aunt or uncle of the fetus can sue a doctor for performing an abortion.
Laws like this incentivize the medical surveillance of pregnant people. It is no coincidence, either, that these bounty hunter laws will disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and the very communities of color that have been subjected to medical surveillance, experimentation and oppression throughout this nation’s history.
Of course, there will be other consequences beyond the penalties laid out in these laws.
Pregnant people and those who help them, be they healthcare providers or others, could face
discipline by their employers, and other forms of discrimination. In terms of immigration, there may be consequences for those who are not citizens who are charged or convicted or a crime.
Advocates expect to see even more involvement by child protective services in cases involving
abortion and negative pregnancy outcomes. And the list goes on.
What We’re Doing About It
Idaho is now a forced birth state, and any state that controls bodies will find a fight with Legal Voice. Your body is your own, and we will work for as long as we can to preserve that freedom. We are watching Idaho closely and will continue to keep you informed of further efforts to limit or expand your rights.
It’s important to us that our advocacy is community led. Interested in joining our efforts to advocate for reproductive justice in Idaho? We’re currently hiring an Idaho Policy Counsel/Lobbyist and an Idaho Staff Attorney – Litigation.
Our priorities in Idaho include (among others):
- Ensuring that pregnant people and those who provide help to pregnant people know their rights and are empowered to protect themselves against these attacks by the state and others;
- Supporting the development of a network of pro bono attorneys to handle a wide variety of cases from criminal to family law matters (and provide them with technical assistance); and
- Defending against policies that further undermine the rights of all people to bodily autonomy and privacy, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation; and advancing proactive policies that promote the health and wellness of our communities.
We’re not here to sugarcoat the reality of what we’re facing. We will need to work hard and take care of each other, to fight back against a system operating exactly as it was designed. We will need to center community input and knowledge of those most affected to find solutions that bring equity and justice to the forefront.
We will find those solutions together, with you at our side.
Interim Advocacy Director | Shared Leadership Team
PS. In hard times, it is critical to be in community with each other. We hope you’ll join us for our Legal Voice Auction –where we will celebrate people like you who will not back down.