Idaho advocates for women's reproductive rights cheered the U.S. Supreme Court ruling June 27 that struck down abortion clinic restrictions in Texas. The 5-3 decision was considered by many to be the high court's most sweeping statement on reproductive rights in 25 years. In the Gem State, however, abortion rights advocates still have their guard up.
"This should be a loud and clear message to some of the Idaho Legislature's most conservative lawmakers who use abortion access as one of their top issues," said Hannah Brass Greer, Idaho legislative director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. "Whether they'll listen or not is another thing."
Soon after the Supreme Court ruling, constitutional scholars said similar restrictions in other states "are most likely unconstitutional, and it imperils many other kinds of restrictions on abortion," according to The New York Times.
When the Idaho Legislature is in session, Greer spends most of her days pushing back against legislation opposing abortion. Earlier this year, two abortion measures were passed by the Legislature. One bans the practice of harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses—no such thing occurs in Idaho anyway. The second measure requires the state to maintain a list of free ultrasound providers, many of whom are backed by anti-abortion groups. Both will go into effect Friday, July 1.
A third bill, dubbed the "Idaho Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act," which would have banned many second trimester abortions, failed when it ran into a constitutional challenge.
"Yes, we saw challenges last year and this at the Idaho Statehouse and we were able to beat many of them back," said Greer. "We didn't have a message from the Supreme Court at the time. Now we do, so that only strengthens our argument. Lawmakers should absolutely take note."