Idaho Supreme Court rules near-total abortion ban can take effect

by Jacob Fuller

Matt Bush, FISM News


The Idaho Supreme Court allowed one of the strictest abortion bans in the nation to take effect in the state while legal challenges over the law play out in lower courts.

The ban is set to go into effect on August 25 after a “trigger law” was activated by the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June. Since the historic Dobbs decision, states have been scrambling to figure out what abortion laws would look like

Idaho’s new law provides the most protection for unborn children in the nation making it a target for the Biden administration and pro-abortion entities. The law bans abortion in the vast majority of cases and makes what the legislation calls “criminal abortion” a felony in the state.

Abortions can still be performed under certain circumstances, but after six weeks, the pregnancy becomes “clinically diagnoseable” and it becomes much more difficult under the new law. According to Holland & Hart, a well-known national law office that has offices in Boise, the new laws are very prohibitive six weeks into a pregnancy.

When the pregnancy is “clinically diagnoseable” or six weeks into the pregnancy, the abortion must be performed by a physician, and at least one of these three conditions must be met:

  1. An abortion is necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman and every attempt is made to keep the unborn child alive.
  2. In the case of rape or incest, legal documentation confirming that the woman reported the rape or incest was presented to the doctor prior to the abortion.
  3. In the case of rape or incest, if the pregnant woman is a minor and documentation was provided by her guardian to the physician prior to the abortion.

The punishments for criminal abortion as defined by the law are as follows:

Every person who performs or attempts to perform an abortion as defined in this chapter commits the crime of criminal abortion. Criminal abortion shall be a felony punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of no less than two (2) years and no more than (5) years in prison. The professional license of any health care professional who performs or attempts to perform an abortion or who assists in performing or attempting to perform an abortion in violation of this subsection shall be suspended by the appropriate licensing board for a minimum of six (6) months upon a first offense and shall be permanently revoked upon a subsequent offense.


On August 2, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging the trigger law. Attorney General Merrick Garland described the new law as a “criminal prohibition on providing abortions as applied to women suffering medical emergencies” and used that as the reasoning for the Justice Department’s suit.

The Supreme Court’s decision was based on three lawsuits that were filed by the local chapter of Planned Parenthood along with a local doctor earlier this year. The suit was meant to block three Idaho trigger laws that will take effect this month.

The first was the law that makes performing an abortion a felony. The second is the law that criminalizes abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The third and final was against a law that allows relatives of a fetus to sue the abortion provider for at least $20,000 and legal fees up to four years after the abortion was performed.

While the legal battles on all three fronts are ongoing, the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the abortion ban is a sign in favor of the legislation remaining in effect and becoming law.