Planned Parenthood asks Supreme Court to expedite hearing as abortion ban date nears

Idaho Supreme Court

By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports

As the implementation date nears for Idaho’s six-week abortion ban, Planned Parenthood has asked the Idaho Supreme Court to set an expedited briefing and oral argument schedule.

Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky filed the motion on Monday, referring to the so-called “Fetal Heartbeat Preborn Child Protection Act” abortion ban passed by the Idaho Legislature in 2021 that effectively bans any abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, with rare exceptions.

The ban is set to go into effect on Aug. 19, so Planned Parenthood is asking the court to intervene.

The law would make it a felony for a medical professional to perform or induce an abortion when “a fetal heartbeat has been detected,” with just “three extremely narrow and unconstitutionally vague exceptions,” according to the motion.

Planned Parenthood argues that the exceptions for medical emergency are not well-defined, and the exceptions for rape and incest must be reported to police.

“These exceptions are so vague—in their scope and/or in the methods by which physicians may demonstrate their compliance—as to be impossible for medical professionals to implement without the threat of significant criminal and professional licensure liability,” according to the motion.

This isn’t the only abortion case in front of the Idaho Supreme Court. Planned Parenthood has also sued the state over 2022 legislation that would allow family members of the fetus to sue abortion providers. Gov. Brad Little signed SB 1309 and a companion piece of legislation, SB 1358, but his transmittal letter criticized the bills and questioned their constitutionality.

The court has scheduled an Aug. 3 hearing to consider whether it should consolidate the abortion cases, as well as if the court should stay the laws while under consideration or remand them to district court. Planned Parenthood has asked the court to let them present arguments on this case as well.

The Attorney General’s Office has not yet responded to the Monday filing.

<strong>Ruth Brown</strong> | Producer
Ruth Brown | Producer

Ruth Brown grew up in South Dakota and her first job out of college was covering the South Dakota Legislature. She’s since moved on to Idaho lawmakers. Brown spent 10 years working in print journalism, including newspapers such as the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Press, where she’s covered everything from the correctional system to health care issues. She joined Idaho Reports in 2021 and looks forward to telling stories about how state policy can impact the lives of regular Idahoans.

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