Brad Little, Governor of Idaho speaks on Day 2 of the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) Conference in Washington, DC at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort & Convention.
Lev Radin | Light Rocket | Getty Images
Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed legislation prohibiting adults from helping a minor cross state lines to obtain an abortion without parental consent.
Under the law, any adult who helps a minor obtain an abortion pill or surgical procedure in Idaho or across state lines is “human trafficking,” punishable by up to five years in prison.
Abortion remains legal in Idaho’s neighboring states such as Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Montana.
The Idaho law, signed into law Wednesday, is the first to restrict interstate travel for an abortion since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade lifted last June. The decision returned control of the procedure to the federal states.
Reproductive rights activists immediately condemned the law as a threat to the safety of young people.
“We have a responsibility to protect young people, and this law only puts them at risk,” Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement.
“This is a clear and dangerous escalation in the push by anti-choice extremists to block all abortion treatment in every state, and our families will continue to suffer the consequences. Our children deserve better,” said Timmaraju.
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Idaho already has some of the toughest abortion laws in the United States. The state has outlawed performing an abortion as a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Idaho law allows a doctor to perform an abortion if the person’s life is in danger or if they have been the victim of rape or incest.
But the doctor must present a “preponderance of evidence” that the abortion under the ban’s limited exceptions was necessary to avoid prosecution. In the case of rape or incest, the woman must provide the doctor with a police report.
After Roe’s ouster, one of the few options left for women and girls living in states with abortion bans is to cross state lines to places where the procedure is legal. But Idaho law would largely bar even that underage access, potentially putting children at risk in crisis situations.
In June, a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped by a 27-year-old man crossed the state lines from Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion after her home state banned the procedure after six weeks. Gerson Fuentes was charged with double rape in July and allegedly confessed to sexually abusing the girl.
Indiana Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita asked the state medical licensing board to discipline the doctor who performed the abortion, claiming that they failed to report the girl’s abuse to authorities. The doctor, dr. Caitlin Bernard said she had complied with all reporting requirements.
In July, President Joe Biden condemned laws that force victims of sexual assault to cross state lines to obtain abortions as “horror.”
“A 10-year-old should be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child? I can’t think of anything more extreme,” said the President.