An Idaho lawmaker has proposed a bill that would punish adults for facilitating the abortions of minors who aren’t their children.
House Bill 98 would amend existing law by defining human trafficking as “recruiting, harboring, or transporting a pregnant minor with the intent to deprive the pregnant minor’s parent of knowledge of, and to procure, a criminal abortion.” It allows perpetrators to defend themselves in court by showing that the minor’s guardian consented to the abortion.
“It is something that, unfortunately, is happening, and I don’t think any of us want to see our minors not only trafficked but in this situation,” Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls), who is sponsoring the bill, reportedly said. “We will make sure that we have top-notch legal authority to deal with this.”
One of the provisions of the bill allows the state’s attorney general to have sole discretion in prosecuting the offense if the local attorney refuses. It carries a penalty of two to five years in prison, in addition to the 25 years typically given for human trafficking, the Idaho Statesman reported.
The bill comes amid concerns that state residents will attempt to sidestep abortion restrictions by traveling across state lines or obtaining medication abortions via mail. Most preborn human beings are protected from abortion in Idaho following the enactment of the state’s trigger law in August, which only allows abortion to save the mother’s life or in documented cases of rape or incest, though induced abortion is never necessary.
Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Indiana, Kentucky (PPGNHAIK) denounced the law in a statement Wednesday.
“Preventing people – including minors – from accessing abortion is dangerous and irresponsible,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO of PPGNHAIK. “I can’t think of anything more cruel than a state forcing a child to remain pregnant and punishing people who try to help them. Shame on these lawmakers. All Idahoans should be paying attention to this extreme attempt at government overreach to control our movements in and out of the state of Idaho. This is merely the tip of the iceberg, and we won’t stand for it.”
Earlier this year, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld multiple laws prohibiting abortions.
In a 3-2 ruling, the court said: “There simply is no support for a conclusion that a right to abortion was ‘deeply rooted’ at the time the Inalienable Rights Clause was adopted.”
It added: “To the contrary, the relevant history and traditions of Idaho show abortion was viewed as an immoral act and treated as a crime. Thus, we cannot conclude the framers and adopters of the Inalienable Rights Clause intended to implicitly protect abortion as a fundamental right.”
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