Here’s great news for preborn babies: the criminal penalties in the Idaho Heartbeat law will become enforceable on Friday, August 19, 2022!
Once the Heartbeat law goes into effect next month, doctors can be held criminally liable for performing elective abortions after a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected through routine ultrasound procedures!
The Idaho Heartbeat law, which was adopted in 2021 and revised in 2022, contains two enforcement sections, one with criminal penalties and one with civil penalties.
The criminal penalties section included a trigger mechanism that would become enforceable thirty days after a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a judgment upholding another state’s Heartbeat law as constitutional. On July 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld Georgia’s Heartbeat law, thereby “triggering” the 30-day countdown clock for the Idaho law to go into effect.
Under the current timeline, the criminal penalties in the Heartbeat law will be operative for at least six days, after which time the Idaho trigger law, which is scheduled to become enforceable on August 25, takes precedence. The trigger law includes criminal penalties for any doctor who performs an elective abortion after conception, with exceptions for rape and incest.
The civil enforcement mechanism in the Heartbeat law, on the other hand, was scheduled to go into effect in late April. It would have created a private cause of action for family members of an unlawfully aborted preborn baby to sue the abortionist for at least $20,000 in damages. But Planned Parenthood challenged that section of the law, arguing, among other things, that the state constitution protects a right to abortion.
The Idaho State Supreme Court temporarily blocked implementation of the Heartbeat law’s civil enforcement mechanism in early April when Planned Parenthood and the Idaho Attorney General cut a deal to extend court proceedings beyond when the law was scheduled to go into effect. Then, just a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe in late June, Planned Parenthood filed a second lawsuit, challenging the trigger law that is currently scheduled to become effective on August 25.
The court will consider the future of both the trigger law and the civil penalties section of the Heartbeat law in a hearing scheduled for next Wednesday, August 3. To complicate matters further, on Monday Planned Parenthood filed a third lawsuit, this time challenging the criminal penalties section of the Heartbeat law. The court has not yet decided how it will proceed in adjudicating that case.
Admittedly, the legal details are confusing. As you can see, Planned Parenthood is throwing the kitchen sink at the Idaho Supreme Court, desperately trying to do anything it can to keep abortion legal.
But the bottom line is that when the criminal penalties of the Heartbeat law become enforceable on August 19, abortionists will no longer have legal cover to murder preborn children with beating hearts. These precious children will finally receive legal protection in the state of Idaho—and to God be the glory!
Standing for life,
President, Idaho Family Policy Center
P.S. We owe a big thank you to the legislative sponsors, Rep. Steve Harris (R-Meridian), Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa), Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls), and Sen. Patti Anne Lodge (R-Huston), who worked tirelessly to carry the Heartbeat bills across the finish line during the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions!