Idaho Must Pay Planned Parenthood Attorneys on Abortion Lawsuit Defeat
by Steven Ertelt
April 5, 2006
Boise, ID (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge has ruled that the state of Idaho must pay more than $380,000 in attorney fees to pro-abortion lawyers who represented Planned Parenthood in its challenge of an Idaho law that would have required parental consent before a teen could have an abortion.
U.S. District Judge Mikel Williams ruled Friday that Planned Parenthood of Idaho can get the money from the state. However, he reduced the attorney fees from the original $550,000 that PPI sought.
With the additional funds the state must spend, it will have forked over a total of $750,000 to defend the parental consent law in courts, thanks to the pro-abortion lawsuit.
In 2001, Williams upheld the law be he ruled the judicial bypass provision in the law, required to allow teens in abusive homes to get around the requirement, was unconstitutional.
The provision required that the teen could only get the bypass from a judge in a minor’s home district or the county where the abortion would take place. Pro-life lawmakers wanted that provision to prevent abortion businesses from "judge shopping" and taking bypass cases only to pro-abortion judges who would routinely approve them.
Williams also ruled against a requirement that parents be notified about the abortion within 24 hours if the bypass provision was used.
On appeal, a three judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June 2004 that the entire law is unconstitutional.
Idaho lawmakers eventually approved a second parental consent law, which PPI and the ACLU have taken to court arguing the two laws are too similar. U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill in July 2005 issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of that law.
Because of the rulings, state Rep. Bill Sali has introduced a third parental consent measure but Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has said he is concerned about the measure’s constitutionality.
Sali told The Associated Press he was unsure if he would be able to get any traction for the bill this year, saying "the bar has been set pretty high."