Bill to criminalize help for Idaho minors’ abortions passes
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A bill that would criminalize helping minors obtain an abortion without parental consent won final passage in Idaho's legislature on Thursday and is headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Brad Little.
The measure would be the first of its kind in the U.S. It seeks to restrict travel by creating the crime of “abortion trafficking” and would bar adults from obtaining abortion pills for a minor or “recruiting, harboring or transporting the pregnant minor” without the consent of the minor's parent or guardian.
Anyone convicted of breaking the law would face two to five years in prison, and could also be sued by the minor's parent or guardian. Parents who raped their child would not be able to sue, though the criminal penalties for anyone who helped the minor obtain an abortion would remain in effect.
To sidestep violating a constitutional right to travel between states, Idaho’s law would make illegal only the in-state segment of a trip to an out-of-state abortion provider.
Once it lands on his desk, the governor will have five days to either sign or veto the bill or allow it to become law without his signature. Little is against abortion and has supported Idaho’s stringent abortion bans.
Idaho is one of 13 states that already effectively ban abortion in all stages of pregnancy, and is one of a handful of states that already have laws penalizing those who help people of any age obtain abortions.
Democratic Sen. Melissa Wintrow said the legislation “further shackles young girls that need help,” and harms those who try to help them.
"I think we all know that Idaho has the strictest abortion bans in the country,” Wintrow said. “It is criminal, it is totally banned, and this bill adds insult to injury in my estimation.”
But Sen. Todd Lakey, a Republican, said the legislation will “help protect our kids. It does help prevent and protect against abortion, especially those that occur without consent of a parent in another state.”