Idaho woman brings first challenge in country against unborn pain act

Pro-abortion groups have so far been unwilling to bring the fetal pain abortion bans to court, likely for fear of defeat.
Wed Aug 31, 2011 - 3:30 pm EST

BOISE, Idaho, August 31, 2011 ( - A woman who is challenging Idaho’s law against self-abortions has also included the state’s pain-capable abortion ban in the lawsuit, making her challenge the first challenge to any pain-capable act in the country.

The legal challenge, brought by Jennie Linn McCormack, 33, lumps the Idaho pain language in with Idaho’s prohibition on self-inducing an abortion, and also addresses access to RU-486 chemical abortions. 

McCormack was charged with illegally performing an abortion on herself with drugs ordered over the Internet, but the charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Idaho’s Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed this year, is based upon Nebraska’s groundbreaking law enacted last year, which has also been copied in three other states. The law bans abortion past 20 weeks on the basis that substantial medical evidence shows unborn babies feel pain acutely at that age.

Opponents of the fetal pain laws argue that they defy the standard set by Roe v. Wade, which allows the state to prohibit abortions based only on fetal viability. Pro-abortion groups, however, have so far been unwilling to bring the issue to court, likely for fear of defeat.

McCormack’s lawyer says that the 1972 law banning self-abortions, as well as the 20-week fetal pain law, unconstitutionally restrict abortion access by not providing an exception for when the pregnancy endangers a mother’s health, and not just her life, Reuters reports.

Julie Schmit-Albin, Executive Director of Nebraska Right to Life, said, however, the health argument was a red herring used by advocates of abortion-on-demand.

“Most maternal-fetal specialists would argue that in the event of a condition which poses a serious risk to the mother, the mother would be hospitalized until her condition stabilized and once the mother is stabilized the need for an abortion for a threat to the mother’s life is no longer at issue,” said Albin in a press release Wednesday.

“The abortion industry would like to revert to the broad Doe v. Bolton type of health exception which has long rendered previous abortion statutes ineffective.”

  abortion, fetal pain, idaho, late-term abortion

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