BOISE, Idaho (LifeSiteNews) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Wednesday signed a law that bans abortion at around six weeks of pregnancy and tasks relatives of preborn babies, rather than government officials, with enforcing the law by suing abortion providers.
The law, styled after similar legislation in Texas, prohibits abortion when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It bars state enforcement, but allows the mother or other family members of an aborted preborn child, including the father or grandparents, to bring civil action against medical practitioners who committed the abortion.
Successful suits can net rewards of up to $20,000, in addition to legal fees. The law includes exemptions for rape, incest, or “medical emergency,” but requires women to show a police report documenting an alleged assault before an abortion on the basis of rape.
Unless halted by legal challenges, the measure takes effect in 30 days.
Idaho’s Governor just signed a bill into law that bans abortion after a child’s heartbeat can be detected
The bill closely mirrors Texas’ heartbeat law that has saved ~75 lives per day for over 200 days!
A great step toward complete legal protection for our kids.
— Live Action (@LiveAction) March 23, 2022
“I stand in solidarity with all Idahoans who seek to protect the lives of preborn babies,” Gov. Little said Wednesday, adding that he thinks past Supreme Court decisions in favor of abortion were “incorrectly decided.”
The new heartbeat law makes Idaho the first state to enact legislation modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Act, which empowers citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion of a baby with a detectable heartbeat.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to strike down the Texas act, and the measure remains in force despite Roe v. Wade. Abortions in Texas plummeted by around 60 percent in the first month after the ban went into effect last fall.
The high court has also signaled that it may overturn Roe in a case titled Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that challenges a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. A decision is expected in June.
Gov. Little added Wednesday that he has reservations about the civil enforcement component of the Idaho law, saying that he thinks the provision “will in short order be proven both unconstitutional and unwise.”
He added that he “appreciate[s]” the exemptions allowing abortions of babies conceived in rape or incest and criticized the police report requirement, as well as the fact that the law could allow relatives of alleged rapists, but not rapists themselves, to bring suits against abortionists.
Little faces a tough primary challenge in May from Trump-endorsed conservative Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin.
In Oklahoma, the state House of Representatives passed a similar heartbeat bill Tuesday, which does not have rape or incest exemptions. Texas-style bans are also moving forward in Tennessee and Missouri.
The pro-abortion Biden White House blasted the life-saving Idaho heartbeat law as “devastating for women” in a statement Wednesday.
Idaho last year enacted a law that would ban abortions of babies with detectable heartbeats, but it would come into effect only if a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a heartbeat bill in a different state.