Idaho Congressmen Mike Simpson and Butch Otter have sponsored new legislation that would add teeth to Idaho's controversial parental consent abortion law. Titled the "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act," the resolution would make it a federal crime to transport an girl under 18 across state lines to circumvent state laws like Idaho's, which demands parental consent for abortion except in cases of medical emergency.
The legislation, which was approved in the House on a 270-157 vote, would introduce fines and prison time of up to a year for anyone caught transporting a pregnant minor to an abortion facility in another state. In addition, it would allow parents to pursue civil action against the transporter. Further, any doctors found to be performing an abortion in violation of the new law would face similar fines and prison time.
Attempts by the Idaho Legislature to enforce parental consent laws have twice been struck down as unconstitutional. After the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the most recent case, Idaho legislators passed a third version of the law, which opponents like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood of Idaho promised BW will face the same opposition as the previous ones.
In a prepared statement, Congressman Otter said of the legislation, "States have a right to set their own laws on parental notification, but we can't allow legal differences from state to state to continue offering a safe haven for those exploiting young women."
Rebecca Poedy, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Idaho, responded by telling BW that the act is "very dangerous legislation" which "puts the lives of our teens at great risk." She would not disclose if Planned Parenthood and the ACLU will pursue legal action against the bill were it to become law, but Poedy said that she was "very confident" that the latest Idaho parental consent law would face the same court-decided fate as its predecessors. "The legislature basically rewrote a law that the Ninth Circuit and the local District Court had already struck down," she said. "They're still missing the bigger issue here, which is focusing on programs that provide sex education in our schools across the nation and that prevent unplanned pregnancies in the first place."