IDAHO, USA — Idaho physicians and Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky are suing Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador over a legal interpretation he issued to a lawmaker regarding the state's abortion ban.
Idaho's abortion ban went into effect in 2022, shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. On March 27, 2023, Labrador issued a legal opinion in a letter to Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa), where the AG answered questions on abortion legalities.
Labrador laid out his legal take on the provision and promotion of abortion pills and the referring of women across state lines for abortion pills or services. He said that Idaho law prohibits all of those activities.
"An Idaho health care professional who refers a woman across state lines has given support or aid to the woman in performing or attempting to perform an abortion and has thus violated the statute," Labrador said.
This comes shortly after the legislature passed an "abortion trafficking" bill, which would prevent minors from obtaining abortions in other states without the consent of a parent.
Planned Parenthood Great Northwest Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky and the two Idaho physicians are suing Labrador to stop him from applying the legal opinion.They state that Labrador's interpretation of the law is an extreme attempt to prevent health care providers from giving patients information and getting care in another state.
“This is a five-alarm fire. Banning abortion wasn’t enough for anti-abortion extremists in Idaho; they now want to ban where you go, what information you’re legally allowed to obtain, and even what health care providers can say," Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, said. "Attorney General Labrador’s opinion is an egregious extension of Idaho’s abortion ban. We won’t stand for it. Everyone across the country should be paying attention to this extreme attempt at government overreach to control our movements in and out of the state, control free speech, and access to information. This opinion should worry you even if you don’t live in Idaho.”
According to the lawsuit, Labrador's interpretations of the law "is a gross overreach into their medical practices." Further, that as physicians they are unable to give all information possible to their patients, which they said is a violation of their First Amendment rights.
"Labrador’s interpretation is unprecedented and amounts to a clear threat that Idaho will seek to punish individuals for speech and conduct related to abortions that take place in states where abortion is legal," the lawsuit states.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho (ACLU), one of the legal representors in the lawsuit stated that it stands firmly in opposition of Labrador's interpretation of the law.
“Attorney General Labrador’s interpretation of current Idaho law to criminalize doctors for providing essential abortion medical care and information is yet another egregious attempt to weaponize health care for people in our state. It is unconstitutional, immoral, and blatant government interference in the patient-doctor relationship," Leo Morales, executive director of ACLU of Idaho said.
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