Idaho Supreme Court upholds state's near-total abortion ban
The Idaho Supreme Court on Friday upheld the state's abortion ban, which restricts access to the procedure except in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the mother.
The state had previously enacted a "trigger law" that would ban abortion upon any ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned the national constitutional right to abortion established in 1973's Roe v. Wade ruling. The court did so in June of 2022, returning the right to regulate the procedure to the states in Dobbs v. Jackson.
That ruling saw many trigger laws take effect, including Idaho's, though legal challenges have ensued and cast doubt upon the future of individual state bans. The South Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday determined that the state's ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy violated the state's constitution under the right to privacy.
Idaho's court declined to make a similar ruling, determining on Friday that the state's ban, as well as two other laws regulating abortion, were valid under the state constitution.
"Under that form of review, each of these laws is constitutional because it is rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in protecting prenatal fetal life at all stages of development, and in protecting the health and safety of the mother," the court determined.
"[W]e emphasize that all we are deciding today is that the Idaho Constitution, as it currently stands, does not include a fundamental right to abortion," the justices continued. The ruling further doesn't create a constitutional ban on the procedure, but merely allows the state laws to take effect.
They further noted that Idaho residents have amended the state constitution 135 times and contended that "nothing about this decision prevents the voters of Idaho from answering the deeply moral and political question of abortion at the polls."
Comparable cases in states that have banned abortion, such as Kentucky, remain pending.