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Idaho Supreme Court lifts stay on both abortion trigger law, SB 1309

The Idaho Supreme Court has issued its decision in two lawsuits filed by Planned Parenthood over Idaho abortion laws, opting to lift the current stay on SB 1309.

BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.

The Idaho Supreme Court has issued its decision in two lawsuits filed by Planned Parenthood over Idaho abortion laws, opting to lift the current stay on SB 1309, the Texas-style law that authorizes relatives of a fetus aborted after six weeks gestation to sue for minimum damages of $20,000; and not to issue any stay on Idaho's "trigger" law, now set to take effect Aug. 25, which will make all abortions, at any stage of gestation, felonies except for three narrow exceptions.

The court hasn't yet ruled on the merits of the lawsuits; it set oral arguments on the merits for Sept. 29. The justices also consolidated all three pending lawsuits over Idaho abortion laws from Planned Parenthood to be heard together; those involve the 2020 "trigger" law; a 2021 law that bans most abortions after about six weeks gestation; and the 2022 Texas-style lawsuits law, SB 1309.

The justices' decision is attached below: 

The "trigger" law is also the subject of a lawsuit in federal court filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is seeking a court order there to put it on hold pending litigation in that case. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill has set a hearing for Aug. 22 on the DOJ's motion for an injunction.

The trigger law bans all abortions, but allows doctors to assert an "affirmative defense" in court if the abortion was performed in cases of rape or incest in which the doctor was provided a copy of a police report; or to "prevent the death" of the mother from causes other than suicide. The DOJ contends it violates federal laws that require hospitals to provide emergency care.

Planned Parenthood Great Northwest issued the following statements Friday: 

“It’s been a little over a month since the U.S. Supreme Court disregarded 50 years of precedent and threw patients across the country into a world of chaos, fear, and confusion,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, “The Idaho state legislature has made it abundantly clear that this is the future they want for their constituents, and today, the court allowed their vision to become a reality. But this fight is not over. These cases and our fight to ensure that every Idahoan has access to legal, safe abortion care will continue.”

“Tonight, the people of Idaho saw their bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom taken away,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America“The court’s decision today is horrific and cruel. But this isn’t the end of the fight, and it isn't our last day in court. No one should see their lives used as pawns by their elected officials or judicial system. Idahoans need and deserve more, and we will continue to fight until this wrong is made right.”

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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