Idaho Senate Committee Passes Bill to Stop Trafficking Teens to Other States for Secret Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 29, 2023   |   11:26AM   |   Washington, DC

The Idaho state Senate is advancing a bill that would stop the trafficking of teenage girls to other states for secret abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

HB 242, the bill protecting a pregnant minor from the abuse of abortion trafficking, passed the Idaho House 57 to 12. Now a state Senate panel has approved the bill and it is heading to the full Senate where passage is pretty much expected.

Republicans outnumber Democrats 28 to 7 in the Senate and, once passed there, pro-life Gov. Brad Little (R) will likely sign it into law.

The bill’s House sponsors, Rep. Barbara Ehardt and Rep. Kevin Andrus led the bill through the state House process and now it needs to advance in the other chamber to get to the governor for a signature.

“We are only looking to continue to protect our children and our parental rights,” Ehardt said about the measure. Since abortion is illegal in Idaho, “it would be taking that child across the border, and if that happens without the permission of the parent, that’s where we’ll be able to hold accountable those that would subvert a parent’s right.”

The legislation would create a crime called “abortion trafficking”, defined in the bill as an instance where “adult who, with the intent to conceal an abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor, either procures an abortion … or obtains an abortion-inducing drug” for the minor.

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“Recruiting, [harbouring], or transporting the pregnant minor within this state commits the crime of abortion trafficking,” the bill adds. While the legislation doesn’t say anything about crossing state lines, driving a minor from anywhere within Idaho up to the border would be criminalized.

Anyone guilty of trafficking a teenager for an out of state abortion would face 2-5 years in prison.

The pro-life group Stanton health care, which helps pregnant women, fully supports the bill.

“With abortions virtually banned in Idaho, Planned Parenthood and other organizations are actively coaching and luring women across state lines for abortions. This is abortion trafficking,” Linda Thomas, Director of Community Outreach, told LifeNews.

“The law will protect a pregnant minor from the abuse of abortion trafficking by someone who is not their parent. The law will allow for prosecution of an adult who participates in abortion trafficking. The adult(s) may be punished by imprisonment for no less than two years and no more than five years,” she added. “The abortion industry is aggressive and relentless in pushing abortion on vulnerable women…and even minor children! We must be even more diligent and resolved in our efforts to provide protection and life-honoring care.”

Right to Life of Idaho supports the bill and told LifeNews, “We are aware of at least one verified Idaho case of a pregnant minor being taken out of state for an abortion without her parent’s knowledge or consent. In a related issue, records indicate that there were at least 9 reported cases of minors involved in human trafficking for sex in Idaho in 2021 alone.  These are just the reported cases. If a minor being trafficked for sex becomes pregnant that is considered a liability for the person(s) trafficking her. Abortion trafficking then becomes the only option for them.”

ACTION ALERT: Please contact your Idaho Senator now to support HB 242.