Reproductive rights advocates and Democratic state lawmakers in Idaho on Wednesday condemned a Republican proposal to create a new crime in the state using the coined term “abortion trafficking,” which would criminalize people who help minors obtain out-of-state abortion care.
The bill (HB 242) is expected to pass the state Senate and easily pass the state House earlier this month on a party vote, with 57 Republicans supporting the proposal and 12 Democrats opposing it. GOP Gov. Brad Little, who has staunchly supported the state’s abortion ban, is expected to sign the legislation.
HB 242 would establish so-called “abortion trafficking” as a new crime and limit the ability of minors to travel for abortion care without parental consent.
Any adult who, “with intent to conceal an abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant unemancipated minor, either procures an abortion…or obtains an abortion-inducing drug” for a minor could face felony charges and up to five years in prison.
Family members of a minor who obtains an abortion across state lines — or the person who impregnated the minor — would be allowed to sue providers who helped facilitate the procedure for a minimum of $20,000. $.
“Human trafficking is a terrible crime where one person takes another against their will,” Wintrow added. “It’s very different to help a young woman get treatment without her parents knowing.”
Last August, one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion laws went into effect in Idaho, two months after a right-wing majority in the United States Supreme Court was overturned. Roe vs. Wade.
The law prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy – before many people know they are pregnant – with exceptions in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnant person’s life is in danger. Exceptions aimed at saving the life of a pregnant person have already led to healthcare providers refusing to provide care in cases where the patient becomes increasingly sick and her fetus has no chance of surviving.
Mistie DelliCarpini-Tolman, Idaho director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, told lawmakers this week that the legislation would put many vulnerable young pregnant children at risk.
“For young people living in abusive households, disclosing sexual activity or pregnancy can trigger physical or emotional abuse, including direct physical or sexual violence, or being kicked out of the home,” DelliCarpini-Tolman said.
State Republicans are seeking to further criminalize abortion care days after the state’s northernmost hospital announced it would soon close its obstetrics department, citing staffing issues that have followed Idaho’s abortion ban.
On Tuesday, state Republicans announced they would not consider a bill to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage.
“Last year, lawmakers said they wanted to pass policies to support maternal health,” said Hillarie Hagan, health policy associate for the advocacy group Idaho Voices for Children. USA News“and now they’re about to walk out of town without passing House Bill 201, which would have done just that.”
Republished from Common Dreams (Julia Conley, editor) under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
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