Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a bill into law Wednesday that makes it illegal for an adult to help a minor get an abortion without parental consent.
The law is the first of its kind in the US and creates a new crime of “abortion trafficking,” barring adults from obtaining abortion pills for a minor or “recruiting, harboring or transporting the pregnant minor” without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian.
Anyone convicted of breaking the law will face two to five years in prison and could also be sued by the minor’s parent or guardian. Parents who raped their child will not be able to sue, although the criminal penalties for anyone who helped the minor obtain an abortion will remain in effect.
To sidestep violating a constitutional right to travel between states, Idaho’s law makes illegal only the in-state segment of a trip to an out-of-state abortion provider.
Opponents have promised a legal battle.
“Yet again, Idaho’s governor disregarded constituents and signed HB 242 into law, creating the nation’s first crime of so-called `abortion trafficking.’ This legislation is despicable, and we’re going to do everything in our power to stop it,” the Idaho State Director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates-West said Wednesday on Twitter.
Idaho is one of 13 states that already effectively ban abortion in all stages of pregnancy, and is one of a handful of states that already have laws penalizing those who help people of any age obtain abortions.
State leaders in Washington, Oregon and California have promoted the West Coast as a safe haven for abortion procedures, and lawmakers in Oregon and Washington are considering bills to shield abortion providers and patients from criminal liability. Oregon’s bill would allow physicians to provide abortion to anyone regardless of age, and would bar them in certain cases from disclosing that information to parents.
Thirty-six states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion, though most allow exceptions under certain circumstances like medical emergencies, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group supporting abortion rights.