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Idaho, inspired by Texas, to allow citizens to sue over abortions


Karl Nesh | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 03/15/22 - updated on 04/07/22

Bill headed to governor's desk prohibits terminations once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Idaho legislators have passed a ban on abortion that takes a page from a controversial law in Texas, which allows citizens to enforce the law. The bill passed on Monday and headed for Gov. Brad Little’s desk prohibits abortion when a heartbeat is detected.

The Supreme Court has declined to intervene in the case of the Texas law, which, since it took effect in September, has led to a 60% drop in abortions in the Lone Star State. Many Texas women, however, are traveling to neighboring states for pregnancy terminations. 

The Texas bill deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or aids and abets it. On Friday, the state’s Supreme Court said it was unable to halt the ban because the law explicitly prohibits the state officials who were sued from enforcing it, the New York Times said.

The Idaho “heartbeat bill” allows family members of a preborn child – mother, father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles – to sue the abortion provider. It establishes a reward of at least $20,000, plus legal fees. The bill does not allow rapists to sue after an abortion is performed. As in Texas, women who have abortions are not subject to prosecution. 

Also unlike the Texas law, Idaho’s bill allows exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest but requires women to file a police report and show it to the provider before they can get an abortion.

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