Idaho legislature passes bill banning abortion after six weeks, emulating Texas law

The bill could become law by April.

Updated: March 15, 2022 - 8:04am

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A bill banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy is headed to Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little to sign after the Idaho House on Monday voted overwhelmingly in support of the measure.

The legislation passed the state House 51-14 and cleared the Idaho Senate earlier this month, The Washington Post reported.

The bill, which includes exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies, has a narrower scope than the Texas law on which it was modeled that opens anyone facilitating an abortion to a lawsuit from any citizen.

Under Idaho's bill, only family members can file the lawsuit. This includes the fetus' father, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. The bill also limits the time window for filing cases against abortion providers to four years after the abortion, the Post reported.

Women in Idaho may currently obtain an abortion until a fetus becomes viable outside of the womb, which is typically around 22 to 24 weeks. 

Idaho's bill, should the governor sign it, could become law by April.

Little signed a heartbeat law last year that is not currently in effect because of legal problems. He is expected to sign off on the latest bill.

The Supreme Court ruled against most Texas abortion providers in December, allowing the state's law to remain in place while a lower court considers part of the case.

Planned Parenthood Action on Monday expressed anger over the Idaho bill. 

"Anti-abortion lawmakers ignored public opinion and rushed to capitalize on the U.S. Supreme Court’s failure to block Texas’s ban," the group tweeted. "We're angry. But we're NOT giving up."

Republican lawmakers in Idaho celebrated the bill's passage.

"Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to halt the slaughter of the unborn in Idaho," Idaho Republican state Sen. C. Scott Grow said, Life News reported. "No matter the outcome of the Mississippi challenge, between now and the time of that Supreme Court decision, this Idaho bill will potentially deter the abortion of hundreds."

The Supreme Court is set to issue a ruling later this year on a Mississippi case that could weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark abortion decision.

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