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Hundreds rally at Idaho Statehouse after Supreme Court abortion decision

Abortion rights supporters marched from Boise City Hall to the statehouse Friday evening.

BOISE, Idaho — Hundreds of people carrying signs and expressing their support for abortion rights gathered in downtown Boise Friday evening, after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a federally protected right nationwide.

The protestors started and Boise City Hall before marching to the Idaho Statehouse to hold a rally.

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Friday allows states to make abortion a crime. Idaho already has such a law on the books.

The Idaho Legislature in 2020 passed a law making it a felony to perform an abortion, effective 30 days after either the U.S. Constitution was amended or the U.S. Supreme Court issued a judgment restoring to the states the authority to prohibit abortion. 

RELATED: Abortion in Idaho: What happens now?

The law includes an exemption, an "affirmative defense" that must be proven in court by a "preponderance of evidence" (more likely than not), for abortions performed when a doctor, "in good faith medical judgment and based on the facts known to the physician at the time," has determined the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman. 

That does not include cases where a doctor deems an abortion necessary because the doctor believes a pregnant woman may take action to harm herself.

The law also includes an exemption for cases of rape or incest, if the woman has reported the act of rape or incest to law enforcement and provided a copy of that report to the physician who would be performing the abortion.

A newer law, approved by the Idaho Legislature and Gov. Brad Little earlier this year, allows certain family members to sue for at least $20,000 in civil damages if an abortion is performed after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy, when a woman may not even know she is pregnant. A hearing on a lawsuit challenging that law, also known as Senate Bill 1309, is scheduled for August 3 in the Idaho Supreme Court. Meanwhile, a stay issued in April remains in place, blocking enforcement pending a decision on the lawsuit. That law is an amendment to the 2021 Fetal Heartbeat Preborn Child Protection Act, which established criminal penalties that would take effect if the Supreme Court or an amendment to the U.S. Constitution returned to the states authority to regulate or ban abortion.

The Supreme Court's official judgment is expected to be filed in late July, and Idaho's law will go into effect 30 days after that.

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