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Planned Parenthood Files Lawsuit to Block Idaho Law Banning Abortions on Babies With Beating Hearts

The abortion chain Planned Parenthood sued Idaho on Wednesday, challenging a new state law that protects unborn babies by banning abortions once their heartbeat is detectable.

KTVB News 7 reports the lawsuit, which includes Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky and abortionist Caitlin Gustafson, asks the Idaho Supreme Court to block the law before it goes into effect.

Gov. Brad Little signed the pro-life legislation last week. Similar to the Texas heartbeat law, the Idaho law bans abortions on unborn babies once their heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy, and includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows individuals to sue abortionists who violate the ban.

The law will go into effect April 22 unless blocked by the court, according to the Idaho Statesman.

“If allowed to take effect, the ban won’t just deny Idahoans their constitutional right to abortion in Idaho, but also effectively eliminate health care entirely for many residents who don’t have the money or time to travel out-of-state to obtain the care they need,” the abortion chain said in a statement.

Planned Parenthood also pointed to statements by Little, a pro-life Republican, and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office expressing concerns about the legislation not withstanding legal challenges. The Texas heartbeat law that the Idaho legislation is modeled after has not been blocked thus far – and thousands of babies’ lives have been saved – but the legal battle is not over.

Despite his reservations, Little signed the bill into law anyway, saying, “I stand in solidarity with all Idahoans who seek to protect the lives of preborn babies.”

Since Roe in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited states from banning abortions before an unborn baby is viable.

Last year, however, pro-life advocates celebrated an unexpected victory when the courts allowed the Texas heartbeat law to go into effect. As a result, the Lone Star State became the first in the country since 1973 to be allowed to protect unborn babies by banning most abortions. The Texas law has been in effect for more than 200 days, saving thousands of babies from abortions.

Both the Texas and Idaho laws have a unique private enforcement mechanism that has puzzled courts. In most cases, state authorities enforce laws, but these pro-life laws explicitly place enforcement in the hands of private citizens, not the government.

Planned Parenthood attacked the private enforcement measure in its Idaho lawsuit, writing, “Distinct from a tort or any other civil remedy provision, which exists to remedy a wrong done specifically to an individual claimant, SB 1309 exists to dangle a carrot in front of ordinary citizens to enforce the State’s policies and preferences where the State explicitly cannot, and where some of these citizen enforcers suffer no actual harm.”

But abortions harm the whole of society. Abortions intentionally and unnecessarily kill unique, irreplaceable human beings, babies in the womb, and harm whole families. Since Roe, about 63.5 million unborn babies have been killed legally in abortions in the U.S.

Pro-life advocates have renewed hope that states will be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortion again soon.

Last year, the Supreme Court refused twice to block enforcement of the Texas law. Then, in December, the justices heard a direct challenge to Roe from Mississippi in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. The Supreme Court likely will publish its ruling on the case in June.

Hoping for a victory for life, lawmakers in Idaho and many other states have filed legislation this year to protect unborn babies by banning abortions, and more pro-life bills are expected in the near future.

The Guttmacher Institute estimates 26 states, including Idaho, “are certain or likely to ban abortions” if the Supreme Court gets rid of Roe. And researchers estimated that abortion numbers would drop by about 120,000 in the first year and potentially even more in subsequent years if the high court allows states to ban abortions again.

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