The Supreme Court of the state of Idaho has officially allowed the abortion laws for the state to go into effect.
As part of a 3-2 decision issued on Friday, the Idaho Supreme Court chose to let the state’s new total abortion ban go into effect, alongside a Texas-style “heartbeat” law that lets the relatives of an unborn child legally sue abortion providers for up to $20,000 — all while challenges are still pending against both laws. As stated in the ruling, which was written by Justice Robyn Brody, it was found by the court that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization “altered the landscape” in regards to abortion law within the United States, which ends up allowing the new bans to be enforced. This new abortion ban is slated to go officially into effect as of August 25th, but the new heartbeat bill has already gone into effect immediately in the wake of the ruling going public.
As part of the ruling about the state’s total abortion ban, Brody stated that the petitioners, Planned Parenthood and an abortion doctor, would not be allowed to demonstrate a substantial enough likelihood of success concerning the merits in the post-Dobbs constitutional system, or any sort of direct right for an injunction against the new laws.
“Moreover, what Petitioners are asking this Court to ultimately do is to declare a right to abortion under the Idaho Constitution when—on its face—there is none,” explained Brody, highlighting that just before the Roe v. Wade decision set up a federal right to an abortion, it had been a criminal offense in the state of Idaho for an extended period of time, reaching all the way back to when it was still labeled as a federal territory, and for 26years before its constitution was set up in 1890. Brody also highlighted that the case from the petitioners’ was heavily weakened by the idea that they were attempting to read the right to abortion into the state’s constitution. “In short, given the legal history of abortion in Idaho, we cannot simply infer such a right exists absent Roe without breaking new legal ground, which should only occur after the matter is finally submitted on the merits” she explained.
As part of a ruling on the “heartbeat” law within the same decision, Brody again stated that the petitioners failed to have any decent level of merit, nor a clear right to any injunction against the law.
As part of the lawsuit, the petitioners made the argument that attempting to enforce such an abortion ban via civil penalties, while it could not be done through criminal liability, stood in violation of the separation of powers provisions set out by the Idaho state constitution. “The force of Petitioner’s separation of powers argument, however, essentially hinged on one fact—the criminal liability provision remained dormant while the civil enforcement law was allowed to take effect,” explained Brody. “The criminal liability provision, however, is no longer dormant,” she stated.
“In sum, in the post-Dobbs legal landscape, Petitioners cannot establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits or a ‘very clear’ right that will be irreparably injured if the preliminary stay against implementing S.B. 1309 is vacated,” finished Brody