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Idaho Abortion Laws

The decision to get an abortion is a difficult one for the woman who finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy. Many individuals for religious or personal reasons either strongly oppose or strongly support abortion and reproductive rights. 

In 2020, Idaho enacted a "trigger ban." That statute criminalized virtually all abortions in Idaho (with exceptions for reported cases of rape or incest), to be effective 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision returning abortion regulation to the states. In 2021, Idaho enacted a "fetal heartbeat" law, which would allow certain civil actions against abortion providers who performed or attempted to perform an abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected (usually 5-6 weeks). On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court issued Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which overruled Roe v. Wade and returned the power to regulate, even prohibit, abortion to the states.

The Idaho Supreme Court is currently considering state constitutional challenges to the trigger ban and the fetal heartbeat law, which are set to be heard in August 2022. In the meantime, the trigger ban and the fetal heartbeat law have been stayed (put on hold) pending the Idaho Supreme Court's decisions. The following table outlines the main abortion laws in Idaho in effect as of July 7, 2022. This area of law is highly fluid.

Code Sections Idaho Code Title 18: Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 6: Abortion and Contraceptives
When is Abortion Legal? An abortion is legal in the first and second trimesters if, after a consultation between a licensed medical doctor and woman seeking abortion, the doctor determines that abortion is appropriate considering the various mental, physical, and family factors including circumstances of pregnancy (such as rape or incest).

In the third trimester, an abortion is only lawful if necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman or the fetus. Additionally, the doctor must consult another physician who agrees it’s necessary. Precautions must be taken to preserve the survival of the fetus, if viable.
When is Abortion Illegal? A licensed medical provider who knowingly provides supplies, administers drugs, or uses instrument with intent to produce an abortion other than lawfully has committed a felony. A person without a license has committed this crime for any abortion or attempt.

The pregnant woman who knowingly gets or solicits an abortion for herself, other than lawfully provided, also commits a felony.

A “partial birth abortion” is also unlawful except when necessary to save the life of the mother when it is physically endangered.
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion The unlawful abortion provider, medical professional or not, is subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for 1 to 5 years.

In addition, a health care provider for a first violation can be professionally disciplined with at least a $1,000 civil penalty. A second violation results in his or her license to practice being suspended for six months and a not less than $2,500 civil penalty. Any subsequent violation can result in the revocation of his or her license and a fine of at least $5,000.

The woman seeking the abortion can be fined up to $5,000, and incarcerated for 1 to 5 years.
Informed Consent A woman must give "informed consent" after information about the development of fetus, adoption and other services, risks of the procedure, etc. 
Waiting Period After receiving the counseling required for informed consent, the woman or teen must wait 24 hours to have the procedures.
Parental Consent An unemancipated girl under 18 years old must get the written consent of her parent to get an abortion, unless:
  • The court has given her the right to self-consent by court
  • The court finds abortion without the consent of parent is in the best interest of the minor
  • A medical emergency exists with no time to obtain consent
Spousal Notification The U.S. Supreme Court held that spousal notification laws are unconstitutional in 1992.
Residency Requirements for Patients Since 1973, states can’t deny out-of-state residents abortions or other medical care because the Supreme Court found that denial unconstitutional.
Physician Licensing Requirements In the first trimester, the abortion can be performed in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office with nearby acute care for complications. In the second trimester, the procedure must be done in a licensed hospital and be in the "best medical interest" of the pregnant woman. A third-trimester abortion can only be in a hospital with two doctors concurring on the medical necessity for the woman.

If you’ve been denied the right to an abortion in Idaho, you should speak with an experienced local health care or constitutional rights lawyer.

Note: State and federal laws change all the time, especially with the regularity of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on abortion. It’s best to contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these reproductive rights laws.

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