The Idaho House of Representatives passed a new bill on Monday that bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
The bill is styled after a recently enacted Texas law that also allows family members to sue doctors who perform an abortion after six weeks.
Senate Bill 1309, known as the “Fetal Heartbeat, Preborn Child Protection Act,” passed on Monday in a 51-14 vote. The bill now moves to Republican Gov. Brad Little’s desk to sign.
The law makes Idaho the first state to pass an abortion ban similar to the controversial Texas law that led to widespread criticism from abortion activists.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the Texas law to remain in place until a court challenge is decided on its merits. The Texas Supreme Court ruled against abortion providers last week, dealing what many consider to be the final blow to their legal challenges,” USA Today reported.
“The Idaho bill would allow the potential father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles of a preborn child to sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $20,000 in damages within four years of the procedure. Although a rapist wouldn’t be able to file a lawsuit, their relatives could,” the report added.
The bill was passed with strong support in the Republican-led state government.
“We heard in testimony in the committee; we heard in testimony here today that this will end many abortions in Idaho,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Steven Harris said. “Let’s save some babies.”
Republican state Rep. Barbara Ehardt, who co-sponsored the legislation, also spoke on behalf of reducing abortions in her state.
“Abortion is not a constitutional right,” Ehardt said. “The Supreme Court in 1973 did something that was never allowed in the first place.”
Though closely modeled after the Texas bill, two notable differences were included in Idaho.
“The Idaho abortion ban does allow for some exceptions in cases of incest or rape, but requires the pregnant person to have reported their rape or incest to the police and to provide the abortion provider with a police report,” 19th News reported.
“Idaho’s ban only permits the person receiving the abortion or their family to sue for damages and only allows for the doctor to be sued,” it added.
Planned Parenthood CEO Jennifer Allen released a statement condemning the bill’s passing.
“SB 1309 is a travesty grounded in bad motives, questionable legality, and no science at all. Governor Little must do the right thing, listen to the medical community, and veto this legislation before it forces Idaho patients to leave the state for critical, time-sensitive care or remain pregnant against their will,” Allen wrote.
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