By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
An amended federal complaint from The Satanic Temple challenging Idaho’s abortion laws, filed Tuesday, now names Attorney General-elect Raúl Labrador and Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts as defendants.
The initial complaint, filed in September, named Gov. Brad Little and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. The Satanic Temple filed the amended complaint as Idahoans and government officials await the opinion of the Idaho Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of these laws. There is no deadline for the Supreme Court to publish its opinion.
In late November, the state asked that the lawsuit from The Satanic Temple be dismissed. After that, the Temple filed the new amended complaint. This complaint names Raúl Labrador as attorney general, though he will not be publicly sworn in until Jan. 6. Bennetts is named in the complaint because Ada County is where most abortions are conducted in Idaho, meaning her office would likely be responsible for enforcing the criminal aspect of Idaho’s abortion law in many cases.
According to the amended complaint, The Satanic Temple has 1.5 million members worldwide and 3,500 members in Idaho.
The complaint states Temple members “believe a woman who carries a prenatal person in her uterus without her consent must remove that prenatal person from her body provided it can be done without jeopardy to her own health and safety.” The Temple takes issue with Idaho’s current restrictions on abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest.
Idaho’s ban includes exceptions for life of the mother, as well as pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, but the rape or incest must be reported to police.
The complaint also targets property law, comparing a woman’s uterus to property.
“The property right of an involuntarily pregnant woman to exclude or remove a prenatal person from her uterus cannot be taken by the State of Idaho without just compensation pursuant to the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” according to the complaint.
The complaint goes on to cite “involuntary servitude” for women who are “involuntarily” pregnant.
“The Idaho abortion bans provide no compensation or consideration to an involuntarily pregnant woman for providing the labor and other work necessary to birth a prenatal person,” according to the complaint.
The Temple also claims the laws discriminates between women who are pregnant by accident and women who are pregnant due to rape or incest.
The complaint asks that the court issue an order preventing Bennetts and Labrador from enforcing abortion bans against involuntarily pregnant women or anyone who provides an involuntarily pregnant woman with an abortion.
A spokesperson for the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office said they cannot comment on pending litigation.
A spokesperson for Labrador said he could not comment on the litigation because he is not yet attorney general.