Idaho Introduces Legislation to Ban Adults from Moving Minors Across State Borders for Abortion

Abortion Travel Ban in Idaho (Photo: Getty Images)

Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed a bill into law that bans adults from helping minors cross state lines to receive an abortion without the parents’ consent.

Under the new law, any adults who assist a minor in obtaining an abortion pill or a surgical procedure within Idaho or across state lines will be committing “trafficking,” a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

Abortion remains legal in states neighboring Idaho, such as Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Montana.

The Idaho law, signed Wednesday, is the first to restrict interstate travel for obtaining an abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June. The decision returned the regulation of abortion to the states.

Reproductive rights activists quickly condemned the law, stating it endangers the safety of young people.

“We have a responsibility to keep young people safe, and this bill does nothing but put them at risk,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju in a statement.

“This is a clear and dangerous escalation of anti-choice extremists’ push to block all abortion care in every state, and our families will continue to suffer the consequences. Our children deserve better,” Timmaraju added.

Idaho already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the U.S., including making the performance of an abortion a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Idaho Policy on Abortion (Photo: Sarah A Miller)

Idaho law allows a doctor to perform an abortion only if the person’s life is in danger or if they are a victim of rape or incest.

However, the doctor must provide a “preponderance of evidence” that the abortion was necessary under these limited exceptions to avoid prosecution. In cases of rape or incest, the woman must present a police report to the doctor.

Since the fall of Roe, one of the few options left for women and girls in states with abortion bans has been to travel to states where the procedure is legal.

However, Idaho’s new law would largely restrict even that access for minors, potentially putting children in crisis situations at risk.

For example, in June, a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped by a 27-year-old man crossed state lines from Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion because her home state bans the procedure after six weeks.

Gerson Fuentes was indicted on two counts of rape in July and reportedly confessed to sexually assaulting the girl.

Indiana’s Republican attorney general, Todd Rokita, asked the state medical licensing board to discipline the doctor who performed the abortion, alleging that they did not report the girl’s abuse to the authorities.

The physician, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, stated she complied with all reporting requirements.

In July, President Joe Biden condemned laws that force sexual assault victims to cross state lines to receive abortions as a “horror.”

“A 10-year-old should be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child? I can’t think of anything more extreme,” the president said.

Categorized as Health

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