Court rejects Idaho attempt to dismiss suit seeking expanded medical exceptions to abortion ban

Court rejects Idaho attempt to dismiss suit seeking expanded medical exceptions to abortion ban

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An Idaho state court rejected an attempt to dismiss a suit seeking to establish further exceptions to the state’s abortion laws on Friday.

The case, brought by four women and two doctors, seeks to expand the allowable circumstances for an abortion procedure to include emergency medical service. Idaho has one of the most strict abortion care bans in the country.

Idaho 4th District Judge Jason Scott rejected state Attorney General Raul Labrador’s attempt to dismiss the suit, allowing it to go forward as a challenge to state law. 

Scott did agree with Labrador to reduce the scope of the suit, however, limiting arguments to specifically the circumstances of abortion care in respect of the state constitution’s rights to enjoy and defend life and the right to secure safety.

The plaintiffs, organized by the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued that a sweeping abortion ban risks the Idaho’s Constitution entitlement for its residents to certain fundamental rights.

In his decision, Scott agreed with the state that there is no absolute right to abortion care in Idaho, but added that the court did not reject “every conceivable as applied challenge that might be made in a future case.”

That leaves the door open to narrow challenges to the state law.

“We’re grateful the court saw through the state’s callous attempt to ignore the pain and suffering their laws are causing Idahoans,” Gail Deady, a senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, told The Associated Press. “Now the state of Idaho will be forced to answer to these women in a court of law.”

Labrador’s office said the attorney general is “encouraged” by the ruling.

“[Labrador] has long held … that our legislatively passed laws do not violate the Idaho Constitution by narrowly limiting abortions or interfering with a doctor’s right to practice medicine,” the office said in a statement to the AP.

Abortion has been an important political fight in the Gem State since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last year overturned federal abortion rights and resulted in a statewide abortion ban.

The state is facing a shortage of obstetricians, which medical administrators have blamed on the bans and a hostile environment towards reproductive care.

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