By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The House State Affairs Committee introduced a new bill Tuesday that would criminalize assisting a pregnant minor with getting an abortion without their parent’s consent.
The bill introduced by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, is similar to one she pitched earlier this month, but would create a new section of law instead of adding to the existing human trafficking law.
Should the bill pass, it would be a felony crime to transport a minor for an abortion without parental consent, punishable by two to five years in prison. Nearly all abortion in Idaho is illegal, with rare exceptions for reported rape and incest or to save the life of the mother.
The bill states it would not be an affirmative defense if the abortion provider or the abortion-inducing drug provider is located in another state.
Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, questioned this line, saying he did not believe an Idaho prosecutor could prosecute someone in another state.
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. Wyoming and Utah have bans on elective abortions.
The bill also provides a civil enforcement mechanism, allowing people to sue providers who knowingly or recklessly attempted or performed an abortion in these circumstances, up to six years after the action occurred.
The bill must still get a public hearing to move forward.