The Idaho Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the state;s new Texas-style heartbeat law that bans aboritons but contains a private right of action to enforce the law much like the Texas ban that has saved thousands of babies from abortions for almost 225 days.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed the pro-life legislation into law in March, banning abortions on unborn babies once their heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Much like the Texas heartbeat law, the Idaho legislation has a private enforcement mechanism that allows individuals to sue abortionists who violate the ban.
Planned Parenthood leaders in Idaho confirmed that they would stop aborting unborn babies with detectable heartbeats as a result of the new state heartbeat law. But the abortion company sued to stop the law and now the state’s highest court has put the law on pause.
The state court’s action is different from what the Texas Supreme Court did, as it followed the lead of the U.S. Supreme Court and refused to block the law — making Texas the first state since Roe to successfully ban abortions. Unfortunately, Idaho will not become the second state, at least not yet.
The pro-life law was set to take effect April 22 but the law is not on hold and Idaho officials have until April 28 to respond to the ruling.
Planned Parenthood, which sued to block the abortion ban, celebrated the court’s decision. Rebecca Gibron, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, said in a statement: “We are thrilled that abortion will remain accessible in the state for now, but our fight to ensure that Idahoans can fully access their constitutionally protected rights is far from over.”
Planned Parenthood, a billion-dollar abortion chain, runs three of the four abortion facilities in Idaho.
The Texas law has been in effect since September, and pro-life leaders estimate thousands of unborn babies’ lives have been saved from abortion. In Idaho, almost 1,300 abortions are reported annually, meaning more than 600 unborn babies could be spared from abortions every year as a result of the new law.
To the abortion industry, however, the life-saving new law represents a “horrible loss.”
“It’s a really horrible loss, and it’s going to drastically decrease the amount of abortions we can provide patients in the state of Idaho,” Berry told the Statesman. “As a physician, I can’t tell you how awful this is. It feels like a violation of my oath.”
But killing unborn babies in abortions is not health care. The Hippocratic Oath used to expressly prohibit abortions before abortion activists changed it, and most OB-GYNs still refuse to abort unborn babies.
Idaho already has a law in place that will ban abortions once Roe v. Wade is overturned. The state legislature also passed a different heartbeat law in 2021 that prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, but, because of current court precedent, neither are in effect.
Last year, pro-life advocates celebrated an unexpected victory when the courts allowed the Texas heartbeat law to go into effect. As a result, the Lone Star State became the first in the country since 1973 to be allowed to protect unborn babies by banning most abortions. The Texas law has been in effect for 204 days, saving thousands of babies from abortions.
The Idaho law is slated to go into effect in April. When Little signed the bill last week, he said, “I stand in solidarity with all Idahoans who seek to protect the lives of preborn babies.”
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 63.5 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions in the U.S.
Last year, the Supreme Court gave pro-life advocates new hope when it refused twice to block enforcement of the Texas law. Then, in December, the justices heard a direct challenge to Roe from Mississippi in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. The Supreme Court likely will publish its ruling on the case in 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.
The Guttmacher Institute estimates 26 states “are certain or likely to ban abortions” if the Supreme Court gets rid of Roe. And researchers estimated that abortion numbers would drop by about 120,000 in the first year and potentially even more in subsequent years if the high court allows states to ban abortions again.