It's no secret: reproductive rights are under attack. From clinic restrictions masquerading as "protections" for pregnant people, to all-out abortion bans, dangerous new laws are cropping up in states across the country. At the same time, other states are staunchly defending the discriminatory restrictions they already have on the books. That's happening right now in Idaho. Idaho has a law that requires abortions to be performed exclusively by physicians. But people across the country, including many Idahoans, now rely on advanced practice clinicians (APCs)—such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants—to meet their reproductive health care needs. The medical research is clear that APCs can provide abortion care as safely and effectively as physicians, and they already do so in several other states. Yet Idaho law bans them from providing this care to their patients. The law carves out no other procedure from their practice in this way. We partnered with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands to challenge this outdated law in court. Our argument boils down to one simple point: As medical best practices evolve, so must the laws that govern them.
Unsurprisingly, Idaho dug in its heels and asked the court to throw out our case. According to the state, the APC ban isn't really a restriction; it's just a law that happens to impact pregnant people's ability to access abortion care. And while the state acknowledges that it cannot create burdensome restrictions on abortion, it also stated that it has no responsibility to ensure pregnant people can "perfectly exercise, or even fully realize, all of the advantages associated with the right to an abortion."
In other words, the state feels that allowing pregnant people to obtain care from the qualified provider of their choice would be doing them a favor. So today, we were in a courtroom in Boise explaining why treating abortion like any other medical procedure isn't doing pregnant people a favor—it's respecting their fundamental rights. There's so much riding on our efforts. Our lawsuit is among the first in a wave of challenges to similar state laws, and a success in Idaho could set the stage for progress in other states. Join our quest to eliminate unjust and unnecessary abortion restrictions in the Northwest and beyond by making a donation today.
Special thanks to our cooperating counsel, Vanessa Soriano Power and Jill Bowman of Stoel Rives, for their outstanding efforts in this case and their dedication to advancing reproductive rights!
Our legal team outside the District Courthouse in Boise, Idaho. From left: Kim Clark, Legal Voice; Hannah Brass Greer, Planned Parenthood; Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln, Legal Voice; Vanessa Soriano Power, Stoel Rives; and Nicole Hancock, Stoel Rives.