CV NEWS FEED // Twenty Democratic attorneys general are challenging an Idaho law that protects minors by forbidding adults from trafficking pregnant children to other states for abortions.
The AG’s argue that a specific clause in the Idaho law which restricts out-of-state travel for abortions is unconstitutional.
Idaho’s anti-abortion trafficking bill was passed earlier this year, making it a felony for adults to help minors procure abortions by taking them to abortion clinics or providing them with abortion drugs without parental consent.
The AG’s, led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, announced their lawsuit against Idaho’s pro-life legislation and specifically, the interstate clause, on August 1.
The clause that the AG’s mainly oppose states: “It shall not be an affirmative defense to a prosecution… that the abortion provider or the abortion-inducing drug provider is located in another state.”
If an adult transports a pregnant minor to a Planned Parenthood facility in Wyoming, for example, the fact that the abortion occurred in a different state will not be considered grounds for defense under Idaho’s law, because the transportation of the pregnant minor is illegal.
The issue is not that the abortion was provided in a different state, because Idaho cannot legally restrict that—the issue is that the adult would have had to drive (“traffick,” according to the law) the pregnant minor through Idaho to get to a different state, thus breaking the law.
The law addresses abortion trafficking within the state, not necessarily interstate travel.
“The Constitution protects the individual right to travel between states, and Idaho’s radical Legislature cannot abolish that right,” Ferguson said in a press release.
The amicus brief filed by Ferguson states that “Idaho may regulate abortion within its borders. But Idaho cannot purport to criminalize the lawful provision of abortion care outside the state.”
The AG’s are requesting that an Idaho District Court issue a temporary restraining order on the law or grant a preliminary injunction suspending the law until action can be taken to overturn it.
CatholicVote Director of Government Affairs Tom McClusky said the first priority needs to be the protection of the minor and her parents.
“A parent’s right to protect their child knows no border,” he said. “It is shameful that 20 state attorneys general would put protecting traffickers over protecting parents.”
McClusky added that the interstate trafficking issue is a federal issue, not an issue for individual states.
“To protect the rights of parents and states, the U.S. Congress needs to pass the Child Interstate Abortion Act, which will prevent traffickers from targeting children,” he said.