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US Supreme Court reversed landmark abortion decisions. What happens next in Idaho?

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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Abortions in Idaho will be banned in most cases after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to reverse landmark abortion cases and overturn abortion rights.

The decision released Friday from the Supreme Court means Idaho’s trigger law — which is triggered if states regain the authority to prohibit abortions — will take effect in 30 days. The law makes it a felony for any health care provider to perform or attempt to perform an abortion.

RELATED | Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Idaho is one of more than a dozen states that have trigger laws in place. Utah and Wyoming would also outlaw the procedure, though other surrounding states, such as Oregon and Washington, have laws in place to protect a woman’s right to an abortion.

The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling to overturn two key abortion rights cases, 1973’s Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, said the court “finds that the right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition.”

The decision comes after a draft opinion was leaked and published in Politico in early May.

VIOLATION UNDER IDAHO LAW CARRIES PRISON SENTENCE

Under Idaho’s abortion law, a violation would carry a prison sentence of two to five years, and health care professionals would have their licenses suspended for six months on a first offense and revoked permanently upon a subsequent offense.

The license suspension also applies to providers who assist with an abortion.

The law makes an exception in the case of a pregnancy conceived through rape or incest — but it stipulates that the rape or incest must be reported to law enforcement and proof of that report submitted to the abortion provider.

According to statistics from the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, only 25% of all rapes and sexual assaults in Idaho were reported to police in 2018, the most recent year data was available.

Women who are in danger of dying due to pregnancy are another potential exception, though the law says that does not apply in instances where a health care provider believes a woman might harm or kill herself.

The statute clarifies that women who undergo abortion procedures cannot be subjected to penalty or criminal conviction.

BOISE’S PLANNED PARENTHOOD LOCATION CLOSES

The Supreme Court decision also followed news that Planned Parenthood’s oldest Idaho location, in Boise, closed earlier this month. Planned Parenthood has two other locations across the state in Meridian and Twin Falls.

The Boise location was one of five clinics to close in the region after “a comprehensive review of all of our health centers and patient needs across all six of our states,” said Katie Rodihan, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky.

Rodihan said the review was prompted by the court’s “likely overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

Dr. Kara Cadwallader, who is the region’s chief medical officer, told the Statesman in December that abortions make up a small fraction of the clinics’ services. Planned Parenthood also provides contraception, screening for sexually transmitted infections, family planning, breast cancer screening and other women’s medical care.

According to the most recent Idaho Department of Health and Welfare data available, 1,680 abortions were performed in Idaho in 2020.

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