Idaho passes new restrictive abortion law, banning procedure after six weeks

Lawmakers in Idaho passed a bill Monday night that would ban abortions following the detection of a fetal heartbeat.

Senate Bill 1309 will now head to the desk of Republican Gov. Brad Little to be signed into law.

The state’s House of Representatives passed the 51-14, almost entirely along party lines.

The bill is dubbed the Fetal Heartbeat, Pre-born Child Protection Act and would ban abortions after six weeks, a point when many women don’t yet know they’re pregnant.

It would also allow family members of the fetus to take legal action against any medical professional performing an abortion. Unlike a similar abortion law passed by Texas, unrelated private citizens are not allowed to file lawsuits.

The Idaho bill, which is the first to copy the Texas law, does contain exceptions in case of incest or rape.

In those cases, women who want an abortion are required to file a police report and show it to a medical provider.

Family members can sue for a minimum of $20,000 within four years of an abortion.

Planned Parenthood responded to the news in a statement.

“The ban won’t just deny Idahoans their constitutional right to abortion care, but also effectively eliminate care entirely for many residents who are financially unable to travel out-of-state to obtain the care they need,” reads the statement.

“This will disproportionately affect the state’s Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, people with low incomes, and those in rural areas.”

Little, who was elected governor in 2018, signed a similar Fetal Heartbeat Bill in April, banning abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected, around five or six weeks after conception.

“We should never relent in our efforts to protect the lives of the preborn. Hundreds and hundreds of babies lose their lives every year in Idaho due to abortion, an absolute tragedy,” Little said at the time.

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