CV NEWS FEED // Several pro-abortion groups are filing suit against Idaho’s Attorney General in an attempt to overturn new abortion trafficking laws that prevent minors from crossing state lines to receive abortions without parental consent.
The complaint was filed in federal court in Boise against Attorney General Raúl Labrador. The plaintiffs include the Indigenous Idaho Alliance, the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, and Lourdes Matsumoto, an attorney who represents minor victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The plaintiffs cite Labrador’s March 27 legal opinion which said “medical professionals who refer pregnant patients across state lines for either medical or chemical abortions violate Idaho’s Total Abortion Ban,” a law that took effect after the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights last year in the Dobbs decision.
They also cite Justice Brett Kanvanaugh’s opinion in Dobbs which held that states could not prevent their residents from seeking abortions in neighboring states. The opinion does not reference minors, however.
The suit alleges that the ban violates interstate travel and First Amendment rights to “engage in expressive conduct, including providing monies and transportation (and other support) for pregnant minors traveling within and outside of Idaho.”
Legal Voice, an advocacy group whose mission is to “challenge patriarchal and racist power structures to widen pathways to justice” for the sake of “gender liberation” is representing the plaintiffs.
On May 5, 2023 Idaho became the first state to criminalize enabling a minor to cross state lines for an abortion.
The suit also claims that the travel ban “lacks clarity” and “invites arbitrary enforcement,” calling into question traffic stops for girls of reproductive age and infringing on their right to cross the border into neighboring states like Washington, where minors can legally obtain abortion care without parental consent.
Intended to protect children from being taken across state lines without their parents’ knowledge to receive an abortion, the Idaho law protects minors from being trafficked across state lines by sexual predators trying to cover their tracks.
The law says “An adult who, with the intent to conceal an abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor, either procures an abortion, […] or obtains an abortion-inducing drug for the pregnant minor to use for an abortion by recruiting, harboring, or transporting the pregnant minor within this state commits the crime of abortion trafficking.”
Additionally, the law provides that “any female upon whom an abortion has been attempted or performed,” or close family members—excluding cases of fathers who impregnated the mother through rape or incest—who are related to the unborn child, may take legal action against medical professionals.
The punishment for facilitating an abortion for a minor is a minimum sentence of 2 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of 5 years.