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Idaho Passes Bill Banning Abortions After 6 Weeks

Idaho's Senate Bill 1309 is modeled after similar Texas legislation passed last year

On Monday, the Idaho House approved a bill that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, similar to the Texas law that has banned most abortions in the state.

Senate Bill 1309 was passed in a vote of 51-14.

The bill now goes to Governor Brad Little to be signed into law. Little has supported similar abortion bans but has not yet offered public comment on Senate Bill 1309. 

The abortion bill does include exceptions for circumstances such as rape, incest, and medical emergencies.

The current abortion laws in Idaho authorize abortions until a fetus is viable outside the womb, typically around 24 weeks. 

If the governor signs the bill, the new Idaho abortion ban could take effect as early as April. 

Similar laws have been passed in other states that have drawn much attention. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on one such case from Mississippi with a 15-week abortion ban. The case could overturn or significantly weaken Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that guaranteed the right to abortions nationwide.

At least 12 states have introduced bills modeled after the Texas abortion ban. The Texas law, Senate Bill 8, empowers private citizens to sue anyone who helps facilitate an abortion after the legal limit.

Idaho included a similar approach in Senate Bill 1309. However, the Idaho version of the bill narrows the list of those who can be sued to abortion providers, which could be sued for up to four years after the abortion.

Also, the new Idaho legislation can only be enforced by family members, including the fetus’s father and siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles.

The bill offers $20,000 to anyone who successfully sues. This also differs from the Texas law, which grants a $10,000 award to anyone who successfully sues.

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