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Idaho governor signs bill banning abortions after 20 weeks

Idaho Governor CL "Butch" Otter [official website] on Wednesday signed into law [recently signed bills, PDF] a bill that would prohibit most abortions [JURIST news archive] after 20 weeks of gestation. The bill had passed the state legislature [JURIST report] earlier this month. The new law allows for limited exceptions to the ban, such as in the case of a risk of death or substantial physical injury to the mother or to another fetus. The signing was not accompanied by any press release or statement by the governor, who did tout the necessity of the bill despite a relatively small number [Reuters report] of post-20 week abortions in the state. The bill became law despite an opinion from the state attorney general that the law is unconstitutional [AP report].

Idaho becomes the third state to ban abortions after the 20-week mark, following Kansas and Nebraska [JURIST reports]. Several other states are considering similar measures. Last week, similar legislation was approved by the Ohio Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives [JURIST reports]. Earlier this month, the Iowa House of Representatives also approved a bill [JURIST report] that would prohibit doctors from performing late-term abortions in the state. Last month, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signed into law [JURIST report] a bill requiring women to seek counseling at a pregnancy center and wait three days before obtaining an abortion.

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