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Idaho becomes first state to pass copy of Texas's 'heartbeat' ban on abortion after six weeks

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Idaho becomes first state to pass near-replica of Texas’s ‘heartbeat’ ban on abortion after six weeks which lets relatives sue any doctor who performs a termination after the legal cut-off point

  • The Idaho House of Representatives passed an almost identical version of Texas’s ‘heartbeat’ ban on abortion after six weeks
  • The bill would let relatives sue any doctor who performs this kind of later termination, although the Texas original allows any individual to sue 
  • It passed with an overwhelming majority at 51-14 
  • Now, the legislation makes its way to Republican Governor Brad Little’s desk, having already been passed by the Idaho Senate 

The Idaho Idaho House of Representatives has become the first state to pass an anti-abortion law based on Texas’s ‘heartbeat’ ban on terminations after six weeks.

It was approved by the state’s lower chamber by a 51-14 majority on Monday, having previously been passed by the Idaho senate, and is now headed to Republican Governor Brad Little’s desk to be signed.  

Now, the legislation makes its way to Republican Governor Brad Little’s desk, having already been passed by the Idaho Senate. 

The Idaho bill, like its Texas counterpart, will enforce the abortion ban by allowing individuals to sue people who reportedly performed these kind of illegal abortions.

In Idaho, only relatives of the woman who has the termination can sue – but in Texas, anyone at all can file a lawsuit against a physician suspected of breaching the ban. 

Like the original Texas law, the Idaho bill does have notable exceptions from the ban, including rape, incest and medical emergencies. 

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The Idaho House of Representatives vote to approve a Texas-styled bill banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy by allowing family to sue a doctor who performs one on Monday

The Idaho House of Representatives vote to approve a Texas-styled bill banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy by allowing family to sue a doctor who performs one on Monday

Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks as President Joe Biden visits to the National Interagency Fire Center, Monday, September 13, 2021, in Boise, Idaho

Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks as President Joe Biden visits to the National Interagency Fire Center, Monday, September 13, 2021, in Boise, Idaho

The proposed law would allow the grandparents, father, siblings, aunts and uncles of an aborted unborn baby to sue an abortion provider within four years of the abortion for a minimum of $20,000 in damages, according to Fox News.

Critics of the bill are calling the law unconstitutional, while adding that some women do not know they are pregnant until after six weeks.

Governor Little signed separate legislation last year that banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. 

However, that law is currently still awaiting a federal court ruling on the matter. 

Pictured: PP Alliance activists post a photo on March 11, 2022:'We're here at the Idaho State Capitol telling legislators to keep #BansOffOurBodies'

Pictured: PP Alliance activists post a photo on March 11, 2022: ‘We’re here at the Idaho State Capitol telling legislators to keep #BansOffOurBodies’

Planned Parenthood in Meridian, one of the few clinics in Idaho that offer abortions. Abortion access could become even more limited in the state, depending on a Supreme Court decision

Planned Parenthood in Meridian, one of the few clinics in Idaho that offer abortions. Abortion access could become even more limited in the state, depending on a Supreme Court decision

And in late 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in favor allowing a lawsuit to proceed by abortion providers against the Texas abortion law.

They did so in spite of arguments made by Texas that argued the law was written in a way that would only allow parties to sue against the law only until it began to be enforced. 

‘The Court concludes that the petitioners may pursue a pre-enforcement challenge against certain of the named defendants but not others,’ the court, led by Justice Neil Gorsuch, said. 

The court’s ruling, which did not offer a verdict on the bill’s constitutionality, instead allowed the law to remain in place as such legal challenges are sorted.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in at least a dozen other states have introduced similar laws, also modeled after the Texas abortion law.

Besides Idaho, eleven other states have proposed heartbeat bills since 2018; such bills have passed including bills in Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas, most of which lie either partly or entirely in the so-called Bible Belt whose population leans heavily against abortion. 

How Texas’s heartbeat abortion law has spurned a host of similar state statutes

The Texas Heartbeat Act, which was passed in December 2021, bans abortions after the detection of embryonic or fetal cardiac activity, which typically occurs after around six weeks of pregnancy.

The law had a fairly swift and easy process of getting passed in the deeply conservative state. It was introduced to the state’s Senate and House of Representatives on March 11, 2021, and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott several months later on May 19. 

The law itself took effect shortly thereafter on September 1, with the Supreme Court ultimately denying a request for emergency relief from Texas abortion providers beforehand.

It has since suffered several legal challenges and criticism.

President Joe Biden called it ‘extreme’ and saying it ‘blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade.’

Meanwhile Senator Elizabeth Warren argued that it is time to ‘step up and codify Roe into federal law,’ in response to the state’s ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban.

The law has also inspired several other states to follow suit with similar legislation.

Eleven states have proposed heartbeat bills since 2018; since 2019, such bills have passed including bills in Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas, most of which lie either partly or entirely in the so-called Bible Belt whose population leans heavily against abortion.

Idaho is among the most recent to pass such bills, after it was was approved by the state’s lower chamber by a 51-14 majority on Monday, having previously been passed by the Idaho senate.

The bill is now headed to the state’s Republican Governor Brad Little’s desk to be signed.

 

 

 

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