Idaho Will Ban Most Abortions, Charge Those Who Perform Them if Roe V. Wade Overturned

As the Supreme Court approaches hearing arguments Wednesday over a Mississippi abortion law that could potentially impact the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, an Idaho law could be impacted as well, according to The Associated Press.

The court, currently holding a 6-3 majority of conservative justices, is set to hear arguments concerning the Mississippi law that bans all abortions after 15 weeks and is also on hold after a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

The law also conflicts with a Supreme Court ruling from 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which prevents states from banning abortions before the fetus is potentially viable at around 24 weeks.

If the 1992 ruling and Roe v. Wade are overturned, a law passed in 2020 by Idaho's Republican-controlled legislature and Governor Brad Little banning all abortions except cases of rape, incest, or protecting the mother's life could be enacted 30 days after the Supreme Court decision.

The Idaho law would also open the possibility of felony punishment for anyone who performs an abortion, but not for the woman who undergoes the procedure.

"I'm optimistic," said Republican Senator Todd Lakey, who sponsored the 2020 law. "I think the situation on the Supreme Court has improved in regard to pro-life issues. But you're talking about precedent and other things the court will evaluate, so I can't really predict where they'll come down. But I'm hopeful that they will eventually, if not in this case then in another case, overturn Roe v. Wade."

For more reporting from The Associated Press, see below.

Idaho, Supreme Court, Abortion, Roe v. Wade
An Idaho law banning nearly all abortions would take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Above, Idaho House members meet in the Statehouse in Boise, Idaho, on March 9, 2021. Keith Ridler/Associated Press

If those rulings are overturned, as Mississippi officials argue they should be, states would decide whether to regulate abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

Little in July signed onto an amicus brief with Republican governors from 11 other states supporting the Mississippi law now before the Supreme Court.

Then-President Donald Trump appointed three conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, including last year appointing Justice Amy Coney Barrett after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Before that, the court had never before agreed to hear a case over a pre-viability abortion ban.

Idaho lawmakers seeing the change on the Supreme Court the last several years have passed abortion-ban laws with trigger mechanisms.

Only one justice, Clarence Thomas, has publicly called for Roe to be overruled.

Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates officials didn't immediately return a text message or call from The Associated Press on Monday.

A different law passed earlier this year by Republicans in the House and Senate and signed by Little, which also has a 30-day trigger mechanism, would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

It does not appear that the law would be triggered by the Mississippi case. It would be superseded by the more restrictive 2020 law if Roe v. Wade is overturned. If the court doesn't overturn Roe v. Wade but upholds the Mississippi abortion ban at 15 weeks, it would not appear to be restrictive enough to trigger the Idaho law. The Idaho law also contains language that causes it to be triggered by an appeals court ruling, not a Supreme Court ruling.

The Guttmacher Institute said that states unlikely to ban abortion that would have the nearest provider for people from Idaho would be Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Colorado.

Idaho, Supreme Court, Abortion, Roe v. Wade
The Supreme Court is about to hear a case concerning a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Above, a view of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on November 29, 2021. Drew Angerer/Getty Images