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Idaho Abortion Laws

The decision to get an abortion is an important one for the woman who finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy. Many individuals for religious or personal reasons either strongly oppose or strongly support abortion and reproductive rights. Regardless of your personal feelings on the subject, abortion is legal in the U.S. and Idaho. It’s the constitutional right of the woman to seek an abortion, if that’s what she decides is best for her.

Whether or not you’re considering abortion, it’s helpful to understand the law on abortion is in your state. Idaho has fairly restrictive abortion laws, leading the pro-choice organization NARAL to give Idaho an “F” grade for its abortion laws. There are abortion clinics in the Boise, Meridian, and Twin Falls. However, to get an abortion during the second trimester a woman may have to drive hours away to Missoula, Montana or Portland, Oregon.

The following table outlines the main abortion laws in Idaho.

Code Sections Idaho Code Title 18: Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 6: Abortion and Contraceptives
When is Abortion Legal? An abortion is legal in the first and second trimesters if, after a consultation between a licensed medical doctor and woman seeking abortion, the doctor determines that abortion is appropriate considering the various mental, physical, and family factors including circumstances of pregnancy (such as rape or incest).

In the third trimester, an abortion is only lawful if necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman or the fetus. Additionally, the doctor must consult another physician who agrees it’s necessary. Precautions must be taken to preserve the survival of the fetus, if viable.
When is Abortion Illegal? A licensed medical provider who knowingly provides supplies, administers drugs, or uses instrument with intent to produce an abortion other than lawfully has committed a felony. A person without a license has committed this crime for any abortion or attempt.

The pregnant woman who knowingly gets or solicits an abortion for herself, other than lawfully provided, also commits a felony.

A “partial birth abortion” is also unlawful except when necessary to save the life of the mother when it is physically endangered.
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion The unlawful abortion provider, medical professional or not, is subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for 2 to 5 years.

In addition, a health care provider for a first violation can be professionally disciplined with at least a $1,000 civil penalty. A second violation results in his or her license to practice being suspended for six months and a not less than $2,500 civil penalty. Any subsequent violation can result in the revocation of his or her license and a fine of at least $5,000.

The woman seeking the abortion can be fined up to $5,000, and incarcerated for 1 to 5 years.
Informed Consent A woman must give "informed consent" after information about the development of fetus, adoption and other services, risks of the procedure, etc. This consent is also called “biased counseling” by critics.
Waiting Period After receiving the counseling required for informed consent, the woman or teen must wait 24 hours to have the procedures. This puts up a roadblock for women who must travel from rural communities to health facilities that provide abortions.
Parental Consent A girl under 18 years old must get the written consent of her parent to get an abortion, unless:
  • She’s emancipated
  • The court has given her the right to self-consent by court
  • The court finds abortion without the consent of parent is in the best interest of the minor
  • A medical emergency exists with no time to obtain consent
Spousal Notification The U.S. Supreme Court held that spousal notification laws are unconstitutional in 1992.
Residency Requirements for Patients Since 1973, states can’t deny out-of-state residents abortions or other medical care because the Supreme Court found that denial unconstitutional.
Physician Licensing Requirements In the first trimester, the abortion can be performed in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office with nearby acute care for complications. In the second trimester, the procedure must be done in a licensed hospital and be in the "best medical interest" of the pregnant woman. A third trimester abortion can only be in a hospital with two doctors concurring on the medical necessity for the woman.

If you’ve been denied the right to an abortion in Idaho, you should speak with an experienced local health care or constitutional rights lawyer.

Note: State and federal laws change all the time, especially with the regularity of U.S. Supreme Court decisions on abortion. It’s best to contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these reproductive rights laws.

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