SPOKANE, Wash. — In less than a month, Idaho's abortion trafficking bill goes into effect. That means any person who helps a minor get an abortion, or abortion medication without their parent's consent could be charged with a felony, and spend two to five years in prison.
"If a minor herself transports herself over to Washington to obtain an abortion, I do not believe under the general constitutional principles of federalism that Idaho can hold a Washington abortion provider accountable or liable for that," Wayne Unger, a visiting assistant law professor at Gonzaga University said.
Unger says Idaho is the first state in the country to pass such law, which Unger says could also apply to out of state friends or relatives who travel to Idaho.
"If somebody goes into state and transports that minor out of state, then by the text of the bill, I think the answer to that is yes," Unger said. "That person can be held criminally liable as well as civilly liable."
The law also includes civil causes of action. It states the father and family of the pre-born child can sue medical professionals who knowingly perform an abortion in violation of the law.
The question is: would that apply to out of state providers where the procedure is still legal? Unger says that question could have a chilling effect.
"Certainly a family member of the unborn child could try to file an action in the state of Idaho against an out of state provider such as a medical professional in the state of Washington," Unger said. "There will be a question, a legal question as far as whether an Idaho court can issue an order against that out of stater and whether that order would be enforceable."
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