Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author's opinion.

The Republican Governor of Idaho, Brad Little, signed an abortion bill, similar to Texas’ heartbeat abortion bill, that bans abortions after six weeks and allows family members of the fetus to sue abortion providers. 

The law specifically bans abortion once embryonic or fetal cardiac activity is detected. The law also allows exceptions for rape, incest, or medical emergencies. The rape and incest exception, however, only applies if the woman reported the crime and kept a copy of the police report.

“I stand in solidarity with all Idahoans who seek to protect the lives of preborn babies,” Governor Little wrote in a letter to Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin.

The bill was passed by congress over a week ago, and Governor Little has been hesitant to sign it. Although he eventually decided to sign it, he had many reservations.

“While I support the pro-life policy in this legislation, I fear the novel civil enforcement mechanism will in short order be proven both unconstitutional and unwise,” Little said. “Deputizing private citizens to levy hefty monetary fines on the exercise of a disfavored but judicially recognized constitutional right for the purpose of evading court review undermines our constitutional form of government and weakens our collective liberties,” he continued.

The enforcement of Idaho’s abortion law will go into effect in 30 days. However, the criminal penalties will only go into effect if a circuit court upholds the law.

This law is likely to produce the same effects as Texas’ heartbeat bill. When Texas’ abortion ban went into effect, abortions fell by 60% in the first month. Although abortions in Texas decreased markedly, abortions in neighboring states surged. The abortion clinics in five neighboring states saw an 800% increase in patients from Texas.

The sponsor of Idaho’s bill, Republican State Rep. Steven Harris, said in a statement after the vote on March 14th: “This bill makes sure that the people of Idaho can stand up for our values and do everything in our power to prevent the wanton destruction of innocent human life.”

Follow on Twitter: @ChrisSchlak

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