Idaho legislators pass bill restricting abortion after detectable heartbeat


Legislators in the Idaho House passed a bill Monday similar to the Texas Heartbeat Act, restricting abortions once a preborn child’s heartbeat is detected. Senate Bill 1309, known as the Fetal Heartbeat, Preborn Child Protection Act, passed the Senate earlier this month and now heads to the desk of Republican Governor Brad Little for signature.

The bill is similar to the Texas Heartbeat Act in that it prohibits abortion after the time a preborn child’s heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks (though the heart starts beating as early as 16-22 days after fertilization). Unlike Texas, Idaho’s law provides exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or a medical emergency for the mother, even though abortion is not medically necessary.

There are also some other differences with the Idaho legislation. While Texas allows any citizen to sue anyone (except the child’s mother) who is involved in procuring an illegal abortion, Idaho’s legislation only allows a family member of the preborn child to sue the abortion provider who commits the crime, offering a reward of up to $20,000 plus legal fees. Lawsuits against providers can be brought for up to four years after the abortion takes place.

READ: Idaho defunds abortion businesses, bars them from teaching sex ed in schools

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to decline to overturn the Texas law bolstered Idaho legislators who were considering their bill. “Texas’ clever, private course of action did good,” said Representative Steven Harris, the bill’s co-sponsor. “It stopped physical abortions, chemical abortions in their tracks.”

Planned Parenthood has already come out with a statement condemning the legislation. “It is appalling that anyone could look at the chaos and harm in Texas over the past six months and think, ‘I want that for the people in my state.’ But today, anti-abortion politicians in Idaho did just that,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said according to The Hill. “Make no mistake: Planned Parenthood will continue to provide care in Idaho, and we will continue fighting for our patients and communities. We’re not done.”

But Rep. Harris defended the bill. “This bill makes sure that the people of Idaho can stand up for our values and do everything in our power to prevent the wanton destruction of innocent human life,” he said.

The Hill reports that should Gov. Little sign the bill, it would go into effect as early as April.

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