Yesterday [January 5, 2023], the Idaho Supreme Court, in a 3-2 opinion, ruled against pregnant people by holding that the state’s extreme and oppressive abortion ban will stand.
This decision reinforces our country’s legacy of oppression, patriarchy, and white supremacy. The court decided that the right to abortion was not "deeply rooted" in Idaho’s constitution, written in 1889. This decision, based in the time when Jim Crow was law and women couldn’t cast a ballot, declares open season on any hard-won progress our country has made in the last 150 years.
This decision endangers pregnant Idahoans. This ban, which has been in effect since August 2022, has prevented pregnant people from getting the reproductive care they need — even when their health is threatened. In response, many pregnant Idahoans have sought care far from their homes, while others have suffered the negative consequences of being unable to access the care they need and deserve.
This decision traps health care providers between good medicine and bad law. Personal health care decisions, recommended by your provider and made by you, will remain restricted by laws that can carry dire consequences for health care workers. Simply put, medical professionals must decide when a pregnant person is close enough to death or severe impairment to merit a lifesaving abortion. This is only made worse by the law’s civil “bounty hunter” provisions which allow certain family members of the fetus to sue for at least $20,000.
“Unfortunately, this decision will most severely impact people already facing health care access issues,” said Wendy Heipt, Senior Reproductive Rights Counsel for Legal Voice. “We know that BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, those with low incomes or from rural areas, and immigrants will bear the brunt of Idaho’s draconian health care bans."
Idaho’s dangerous laws will drive pregnant Idahoans out of state for critical care. Neighboring states must now play their part in protecting pregnant Idahoans. This legislative session, we expect to see several bills that shore up access to abortion in Washington state, including shielding healthcare providers from hostile state interference. We must work to protect all of us, and that includes finding cross-state solutions to healthcare inequities in Idaho.
Know that this fight is not over. We know the courts will not save us. We know politicians will not save us. We will save us. We will mourn our losses, and our communities will return every day to rectify these injustices. Legal Voice will continue to fight by your side for every person’s right to bodily autonomy— in Idaho and across the Northwest.
Read the full opinion here:
On Thursday, January 5, 2023, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld the state's extreme abortion ban, ensuring that pregnant Idahoans will continue to have less autonomy over their own bodies than other state citizens.
The Idaho Access Taskforce Coalition came together to write a joint statement about this dangerous precedent.
Read our joint statement:
Idaho Access Taskforce Coalition Members
Idaho ACT⬥Add the Words⬥ ACLU of Idaho⬥Legal Voice ⬥Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates ⬥ Idaho Indigenous Alliance⬥ Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence