Idaho Court Rejects Pro-Life Lawsuit to Enforce Abortion Information Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 8, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Idaho Court Rejects Pro-Life Lawsuit to Enforce Abortion Information Law

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 8, 2004

Boise, ID ( — Idaho’s Supreme Court has rejected a pro-life group’s lawsuit saying the state has been lax in enforcing a pro-life law that requires abortion businesses to make information about abortion risks and alternatives available to women considering have one.

The lawsuit filed by Idaho Chooses Life Alliance (ICL) names pro-life Governor Dirk Kempthorne (R) and the state health department and it says the state should be enforcing the 1983 pro-life law.

David Ripley, president of ICL, said the law requires the state to publish an impartial brochure detailing abortion risks and a list of agencies that offer abortion alternatives. He said the pamphlet should also provide information about fetal development and pictures of unborn children at various stages of development during pregnancy.

However, the state has not produced the brochure. The lawsuit would have required the state health department to publish and disseminate the brochure.
Ripley hoped to resolve the matter out of court and encouraged pro-life Idaho residents to call Governor Dirk Kempthorne (R) and urge him to make the health department follow the law.

However, Ripley’s group filed the lawsuit when, he says, meetings with Kempthorne led to promises, but not action.

Kempthorne says the meetings were productive and promises action on getting the brochures printed.

“My administration was working closely with the pro-life community, including Idaho Chooses Life, to address their concerns and update the information required by law to be provided to women making this difficult decision,” Kempthorne told the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

Kempthorne says he is still working with other pro-life groups that want the brochure published but didn’t join ICL’s lawsuit.

Ripley isn’t sure what his group will do following the court’s actions. He says legal counsel needs to review the court’s decision.

Dr. Roger Neuenschwander, Lifeline Crisis Pregnancy Center, three women who had abortions, and parents of three teenagers joined with ICL in filing the lawsuit.

Similar pro-life laws in other states have proven effective in reducing the number of abortions.

Ripley estimates that more than 25,000 abortions have been performed in the state since the law and that the number would be lower if all of the women had been given the information required by the law.

ACTION: Contact Governor Kempthorne at 700 West Jefferson, 2nd Floor, PO Box 83720, Boise, Idaho 83720-0034. You can fax a letter to 208-334-2175 or fill out an email form at