A disturbing new law in Idaho will make it a felony for adults to help minors get an abortion without their parent or guardian’s consent.
As NBC News reported, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, signed HB 242 into law earlier this week. The first-of-its-kind law creates a new crime proponents are calling “abortion trafficking,” AKA helping a young person get an abortion.
Adults in Idaho are now barred from obtaining abortion pills for anyone below age 18 or “recruiting, harboring or transporting the pregnant minor” without parental consent. Anyone convicted of violating this law will face two to five years in prison. They can also be sued by the pregnant minor’s parents.
As HuffPost reported, HB 242 sets a dangerous precedent regarding interstate travel for abortions. The legislation doesn’t explicitly address crossing state lines for the procedure. However, since Idaho has already implemented a near-total abortion ban, any adult who helps a minor get an abortion would likely have to travel to a neighboring state.
In theory, they could still be prosecuted — which is exactly what the law’s sponsors wanted.
Abortions are safe, common, and nothing to be ashamed of or fear. Misrepresenting this basic medical procedure with the language of human trafficking — an actual human rights issue affecting young women and girls around the global — is… upsetting, to say the least.
In a statement, the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, which serves Idaho, noted that many minors who need abortions don’t have “safe or supportive” family members who can assist them.
“It’s remarkable that lawmakers believe that young Idahoans don’t have the capacity to make reproductive healthcare choices for themselves or deserve bodily autonomy, but believe that those same young people should have the capacity to raise and care for children on their own, without any major social or economic support,” the organization continued.
On Twitter, Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates-West called the new law “despicable” and said it plans to do “everything in our power to stop it.”
The law’s codification comes shortly after Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador, also a Republican, opined that the state’s abortion ban “prohibits an Idaho medical provider from… referring a woman across state lines to access abortion services.” Planned Parenthood is suing to block authorities from enforcing this.
Sadly, Idaho is just one of at least 17 U.S. states that banned or severely restricted abortions after the fall of Roe v. Wade. The landmark Supreme Court ruling safeguarded abortion access nationwide for more than 40 years — that is, up until last June. Now, one in three Americans who can get pregnant have to travel more than an hour away to reach their nearest abortion provider.
These restrictions have been shown to have devastating mental-health impacts for people who can get pregnant.
Check out these powerful stories from celebrities who opened up about getting abortions:
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