Idaho Senate passes bill to criminalize helping minors leave state for abortion without parental consent

The Idaho Senate approved a bill on Thursday to criminalize helping minors travel out of state to obtain an abortion, sending it to GOP Gov. Brad Little’s desk.

The legislation easily passed in a heavily Republican-dominated state House and Senate. If signed into law, the bill would prohibit adults from helping a minor obtain an abortion procedure or an abortion-inducing pill without their parent or guardian’s consent, stating that they would be committing “abortion trafficking.”

The bill would allow any person prosecuted under the law to defend themselves by arguing that they had received the parent or guardian’s consent to help the minor obtain an abortion. But the law would also apply even if the minor obtained the abortion or the pill from out of state.

Anyone convicted of violating the law could face two to five years in prison.

The bill would grant the Idaho attorney general the authority to prosecute anyone who breaks the law if a prosecuting attorney in a county declines to bring charges against the individual.

The legislation would also allow certain individuals related to a woman who has an attempted or performed abortion to sue medical professionals who violate the law and receive at least $20,000 in damages. The individuals include the child’s father, grandparent, sibling, aunt and uncle.

Idaho banned abortion through a trigger law that went into effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned, only allowing exceptions to protect the life of the mother or for cases of rape and incest when they have been reported to authorities. But Oregon, Washington and Montana — which all border Idaho — have much looser laws concerning abortion.

The Idaho Capital Sun reported that Planned Parenthood Great Northwest has said it will file a lawsuit against the legislation if it becomes law. Idaho would be the first state to prohibit interstate travel to obtain an abortion if the bill is signed, according to the outlet.

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