Idaho’s constitution does not enshrine abortion as a fundamental right, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday as it dismissed a series of lawsuits brought by Planned Parenthood.
The ruling was a blow against those who were fighting the Idaho laws. effect in augustThis includes criminalizing all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy except in cases of rape or incest to save the life of the pregnant person.
“This is a dark day for the state of Idaho. But our fight is not over yet,” Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, said in a statement.
Planned Parenthood and a family physician brought three lawsuits against the governor and leaders of the Legislature in an effort to block new abortion restrictions. One of the laws allows potential family members of a fetus to sue the health care professional who performed the abortion. Another made it a crime for medical professionals to perform abortions after electrical activity is detected. and a third effectively banned all abortions but allowed doctors to defend themselves in court by proving that the abortion was performed to save their patient’s life.
The Idaho Supreme Court heard arguments from all of the lawsuits in a joint hearing last year. Thursday’s decision came into force in all the three cases.
Planned Parenthood claimed the laws offend constitutional principles such as equal protection and due process, the high court justices noted.
But most of the judges said rule That the Constitution of the State does not provide any fundamental right to abortion.
“Since Idaho statehood in 1890, this Court has repeatedly and steadfastly interpreted the Idaho Constitution on the basis of the plain and ordinary meaning of its text,” Justices said.
If they jumped and concluded that the document implicitly protected abortion rights, the Constitution would “effectively be changed by the voices of the select few who sit on this Court,” the justices maintained.
Idaho Supreme Court Justices Colleen Zahn and John Stegner dissented with the majority opinion. Zahn said, “Idaho’s constitution did not freeze rights as they existed in 1890.”
Zain wrote, “We must look to the history and traditions of Idaho to determine the intent of the framers, but should not be closed in examining those rights only according to the circumstances in which they existed.”
In his dissent, Stegner noted the effect of pregnancy on women, saying that the majority opinion “denies the women of Idaho of their most basic rights.”
“Idaho women have a fundamental right to abortion because pregnancy — and whether a pregnancy can be terminated — has profound implications for pregnant women’s inalienable right to liberty, as well as their rights to life and safety,” Stegner wrote. .
The Idaho ban has increased pressure on abortion facilities in neighboring Oregon, where abortion rights are protected.
in South CarolinaThe state Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a ban on abortion after finding cardiac activity detection violates the state’s constitutional right to privacy.
The South Carolina court held that the state has the right to limit the right to privacy that protects a woman from state interference with her decision, but that any limit must give a woman sufficient time to determine whether She is pregnant and “takes appropriate steps to terminate that pregnancy.” ,
The Idaho Supreme Court said its case was narrowly focused.
Justice Robin Brody wrote in the majority opinion, “Today we are all deciding that the Idaho Constitution, as it currently stands, does not include a fundamental right to abortion.”
Brody said Idaho’s new anti-abortion laws are “rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in protecting the life of a prenatal fetus at all stages of development.”
The Idaho law came after the US Supreme Court last year overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, which guaranteed abortion rights under the US Constitution.
A narrow run of one of Idaho’s abortion restrictions has been made temporarily blocked by a federal judge in a separate case.
Abortion foes applauded the Idaho court’s decision.
“Today is a great day for precious pre-born children in Idaho,” said Blaine Conzatti, president of the Idaho Family Policy Center, a conservative Christian policy research and educational organization.
Planned Parenthood said the court’s decision would particularly affect those who already face the greatest barriers to health care due to a legacy of racism and discrimination, including people of color, low-income people, immigrants and others are included.
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