Federal appeals court strikes down Idaho abortion laws

Federal appeals court strikes down Idaho abortion laws

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Friday struck down [opinion, PDF] portions of two Idaho abortion laws. The Pain- Capable Unborn Child Protection Act [text] prohibited abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The court struck it down as “unconstitutional because it categorically bans some abortions before viability.” The court also found that the Abortion and Contraceptives Act [text], requiring women seeking abortions in the second trimester to do so in a hospital setting, placed an undue burden on these women. Jennie McCormack and Dr. Richard Hearn challenged the laws after McCormack was arrested and released for her abortion through the RU-486 pill in 2011. The court’s ruling reaffirmed that women have the right to “choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the State.”

Reproductive rights issues [JURIST backgrounder] remain controversial throughout the US. Earlier this month Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam [official website] signed [JURIST report] into a law a bill requiring a 48-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin [official website] signed House Bill 1409 into law extending the mandatory [JURIST report] waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. In April Alabama state representative Teri Collins proposed a bill to ban abortion [JURIST report] once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Also in April Kansas Governor Sam Brownback [official website] signed a bill [press release] that bans all forms of dismemberment abortion unless necessary to protect the life or health of the mother. In March Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill [JURIST report] that requires abortion providers in the state to tell women that they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion, in addition to barring women from buying any healthcare plan through the federal marketplace that includes coverage for abortions. Also in March the West Virginia Legislature overrode [JURIST report] the state governor’s veto, passing a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks.