Bill introduced to criminalize assisting a minor seeking an abortion
By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The House State Affairs Committee introduced a bill Tuesday that would categorize assisting a pregnant minor with getting an out-of-state abortion as “human trafficking” if there isn’t parental consent.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, adds a section to Idaho code prohibiting anyone from aiding a minor getting an abortion with the intent of concealing the abortion from the minor’s parents.
The illegal actions would include “recruiting, harboring, or transporting a pregnant minor” with the intent of depriving the pregnant minor’s parents of knowledge of the abortion.
All abortion is illegal in Idaho, with rare expectations for reported rape and incest, or the life of the mother.
The nearest out-of-state abortion clinics for most Idahoans are in Oregon and Washington. In Washington, minors can legally get an abortion without parental consent. In Oregon, girls 15 and older can get an abortion without parental consent, but girls 14 and younger do need parental permission. Montana law requires parental permission, but that law is temporarily enjoined by a court order, meaning the policy isn’t in effect.
Like Idaho, Wyoming and Utah have bans on elective abortions.
Ehardt’s bill would create a criminal penalty for non-guardians who take a pregnant girl across state lines for an abortion. Those convicted would face between two and five years in prison. The bill allows the Attorney General’s office to pursue prosecution.
The current trafficking law applies to a person who is forced, coerced or threatened into servitude against their will, generally sexually or for physical labor.
The bill also includes a civil enforcement mechanism that would allow someone to sue the person who assisted the juvenile with getting an abortion.
The bill must receive a public hearing before moving forward.