The Supreme Court of Idaho just stopped the state’s newest anti-abortion law from going into effect, Fox News reports.
The block, though, is only temporary.
Last month, Idaho became the first state to enact a law modeled after the controversial Texas Heartbeat Act.
Like the Texas law, Idaho’s version makes it illegal to have an abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically at about the six-week mark of the pregnancy. Exceptions are provided for rape, incest, and medical emergencies.
Also like the Texas law, Idaho’s version put the enforcement of the law into the hands of its citizens. Except for rapists, citizens are allowed to sue an abortion provider for at least $20,000 within four years of the performance of an abortion.
Idaho Republicans, with their majorities in the state House and state Senate, were easily able to pass the bill. The measure made it through the House by a tally of 51-14 and the Senate, 28-6. All that was left was for Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) to sign the bill into law, and he did just this.
With Little signing the bill, it was scheduled to take effect on April 22, until these latest developments.
The Idaho law has been challenged by Planned Parenthood Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, and Kentucky, in addition to Idaho physician Caitlin Gustafson. They allege that Idaho’s law violates the state’s Constitution in various ways, including its so-called right to privacy provisions.
Recently, the state filed a motion asking the state Supreme Court to give it more time to prepare its legal brief. The court has granted this motion, giving the state until April 28 to file its brief.
In the meantime, the court has made another ruling, namely, that during this time period, the new abortion law will not be allowed to go into effect. Both the state and Planned Parenthood asked the court to preserve the status quo, and the court obliged.
Once April 28 does arrive, the case should go quickly as proceedings will be expedited.
The big question is how the Idaho Supreme Court will rule on this law. The Texas version of the law, thus far, has managed to survive legal challenges with the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to get involved.