In the Courts

Idaho Supreme Court Finds No ‘Explicit Right’ To Abortion, Upholds Ban

The Idaho Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a state abortion law that bans the procedure except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother, rejecting the claim that the state’s constitution provides a right to abortion.

Idaho’s abortion law went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, but has been challenged in the courts multiple times by pro-abortion advocates.  The court ruled 3-2 to uphold the ban, stating that Idaho’s law that bans abortion under most circumstances does not violate due process or the right to privacy.

“The Idaho Constitution does not contain an explicit right to abortion,” Justice Robyn Brody wrote. “To the contrary, the relevant history and traditions of Idaho show abortion was viewed as an immoral act and treated as a crime. Thus, we cannot conclude the framers and adopters of the Inalienable Rights Clause intended to implicitly protect abortion as a fundamental right.”

Idaho passed an abortion trigger law in 2020 that prohibited abortions performed for any reason other than rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother, according to Idaho Capital Sun. After the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s trigger law went into effect in August.

Under the new law, abortion is a felony offense, leading pro-abortion advocates to challenge the law in court. The Department of Justice sued the state over the law, claiming it violated a law requiring hospitals who receive Medicare funds to perform abortions, and the court initially granted a preliminary injunction until the courts made a final decision, according to The New York Times.

The decision allows the ban to remain partially in effect but broadens the law to allow abortions under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which provides a wider definition of a medical threat to the mother’s life, according to ABC News. That case is still ongoing despite the state Supreme Court’s ruling.

“Additionally, as explained below, we conclude that the Total Abortion Ban, 6-Week Ban, and Civil Liability Law each pass the familiar test for determining the constitutionality of most legislation: “rational-basis” review,” Brody explained. “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 5 stages of development, and in protecting the health and safety of the mother.”

The justices also pointed out that Idaho citizens had other alternatives to make abortion a right under the law through the legislature.

“Importantly, nothing about this decision prevents the voters of Idaho from answering the deeply moral and political question of abortion at the polls,” Brody stated. “For example, if the people of Idaho are dissatisfied with these new laws, they can elect new legislators.”

Planned Parenthood did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Kate Anderson

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Kate Anderson

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