By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
Two Idaho physicians and Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Idaho Attorney General’s Office over the state’s total abortion ban.
The lawsuit came after a March 27 opinion from Attorney General Raúl Labrador, sent to Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, stated that Labrador believes the abortion law in Idaho prohibits medical providers from referring a woman across state lines to access abortion services.
In Idaho, all abortion is illegal with rare exceptions for reported rape, incest and the life of the mother.
Neighboring states such as Oregon and Washington have legalized abortion.
In the lawsuit filed, the plaintiffs write “Labrador’s interpretation is unprecedented and amounts to a clear threat that Idaho will seek to punish individuals for speech and conduct related to abortions that take place in states where abortion is legal.”
The plaintiffs state that as a result of Labrador’s opinions, they “have ceased having comprehensive conversations with their patients about out-of-state abortion options and no longer provide patients with information about out-of-state resources or recommend to them out-of-state providers who can offer them abortion care.”
The complaint goes on to argue that because of the opinion, the actions “will force some patients to terminate their unwanted pregnancies outside a clinical setting, which could put them at medical or legal risk.”
The plaintiffs ask the court to declare Idaho Code 18-622 on criminal abortion unconstitutional and enter an order that would stop Labrador from enforcing his interpretation of the law.
“Attorney General Labrador’s interpretation of current Idaho law to criminalize doctors for providing essential abortion medical care and information is yet another egregious attempt to weaponize health care for people in our state,” Leo Morales, executive director of ACLU of Idaho, said in a press release Wednesday. “It is unconstitutional, immoral, and blatant government interference in the patient-doctor relationship. We stand firmly in opposition to this radical interpretation of the law and are going to court to affirm the rights of Idahoans.”
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office has not yet filed a response to the complaint.