The life-saving success of the Texas heartbeat law has Idaho leaders hopeful that their state also could save unborn babies from abortion this year.
Idaho already has a law in place that will ban abortions once Roe v. Wade is overturned. The state legislature also passed a heartbeat law in 2021 that prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, but, because of current court precedent, it is not in effect either.
So, for now, unborn babies still are being aborted legally at four abortion facilities in Idaho.
“We’re on the cusp of fixing [Roe v. Wade], but the question is, what do we do until then?” Blaine Conzatti, president of the Idaho Family Policy Center, told the Idaho Statesman.
Conzatti said they hope the state legislature will act to save unborn babies immediately by amending the state heartbeat law with a private enforcement provision similar to the one in the Texas law.
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Here’s more from the report:
While Texas allows anyone — including people outside of the state — to bring a lawsuit over abortion, Conzatti said the Idaho legislation would be narrower, allowing the family of an aborted fetus to sue abortion providers as the family has been “directly harmed by the abortion.”
Conzatti said this provision would go into effect 30 days after the bill is signed into law, without the need to wait on higher courts’ decisions. He expects support from the Republican-dominated Legislature and Idaho Gov. Brad Little. He said it would prevent more abortions in Idaho while the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the Mississippi case.
The unique private enforcement mechanism in the Texas law is the reason why the courts have allowed the law to stay in effect for the past four months, saving thousands of unborn babies’ lives. Though the court battle over the Texas law is not over, pro-lifers in Idaho and other states hope that by passing similar pro-life laws with private enforcement mechanisms that they, too, will save unborn babies from abortion while Roe v. Wade remains.
Since Roe in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited states from banning abortions before an unborn baby is viable. As a result, about 63 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions in the U.S.
Last year, however, the Supreme Court gave pro-life advocates new hope when it refused twice to block enforcement of the Texas law. As a result, Texas is the first state to be allowed to enforce a pre-viability abortion ban in nearly five decades.
In December, the justices also heard a direct challenge to Roe from Mississippi in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. The Supreme Court likely will not publish its ruling on the case until June.
Both cases have renewed hope in the pro-life movement that states will be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortions again soon. Lawmakers in Idaho and many other states already have filed legislation this year to do just that, and more pro-life bills are expected when state legislatures convene again in the new year.