August 18, 2022
Pocatello, ID–At the close of the Civil War, it was illegal to obtain an abortion in the Territory of Idaho. This commitment to protect the unborn was reaffirmed in 1887–and again in 1932–and again in 1948. In fact, Idaho’s concern for its smallest and most vulnerable citizens remained codified into law until 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision forced its repeal.
Now, nearly 50 years later, the State of Idaho stands ready to restore its tradition of protecting the unborn. Tomorrow, August 19, the criminal penalties in Idaho’s Heartbeat law take effect. Blaine Conzatti, president of the Idaho Family Policy Center, explains:
The Idaho Heartbeat law, which was adopted in 2021 and revised in 2022, contains two enforcement sections, one with criminal penalties and one with civil penalties.
The criminal penalties section included a trigger mechanism that would become enforceable thirty days after a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a judgment upholding another state’s Heartbeat law as constitutional. On July 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld Georgia’s Heartbeat law, thereby “triggering” the 30-day countdown clock for the Idaho law to go into effect.
Under the current timeline, the criminal penalties in the Heartbeat law will be operative for at least six days, after which time the Idaho trigger law, which is scheduled to become enforceable on August 25, takes precedence. The trigger law includes criminal penalties for any doctor who performs an elective abortion after conception, with exceptions for rape and incest.
Planned Parenthood continues its efforts to block enforcement of Idaho’s Heartbeat law. They have retained the services of WilmerHale, a law firm based in Boston and Washington, D.C., to argue their case before the Idaho Supreme Court. Oral arguments are scheduled for September 29, 2022.