Judge Refuses to Enforce Key Abortion Ruling

(RepublicanNews.org) – A federal judge has placed a temporary block on enforcement of a recently passed “abortion trafficking” law in Idaho.

The law, called House Bill 242, was designed to stop what Republican Governor Brad Little describes as “abortion trafficking.” It is meant to prevent adults from taking underage girls across state lines to obtain an abortion. After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022, Idaho passed a law making abortion illegal except in cases of rape and/or incest, or to save the life of the mother. However, three of the states that border Idaho—Washington, Montana, and Oregon—have legal abortion available.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Debora Grasham claims the law, which was passed in April, violates the First Amendment of the Constitution, specifically the right to free speech and expression. Grasham called the law “unconstitutionally vague,” saying the law does not sufficiently describe what is or is not considered abortion trafficking, which means reasonable people are unable to “distinguish between permissible and impermissible activities.” The Boise-based judge placed a preliminary injunction on the law, which means the law will remain in place but unenforceable while challenges to the law make their way through the court system.

Opponents of the law claim it violates free speech because it would not allow a medical doctor to tell patients about the possibility of inter-state travel to obtain an abortion.

The challenge to the law comes from the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and Indigenous Idaho Alliance, as well as Lourdes Matsumoto, an attorney in Idaho. They claim the law suppresses their First Amendment rights as well as their rights to interstate and intrastate travel.

Supporters of the law, such as Republican State Representative Barbara Erhardt, said the bill is meant to support “parental rights,” as parents could still take their pregnant underage child to another state to obtain an abortion. Erhardt said the bill is meant to prevent those who take a child across state lines for an abortion without the consent of the parents.

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