Groups Sue to Overturn Idaho ‘Abortion Trafficking’ Law Targeting Teens

by | Jul 11, 2023 | Health

Advocates who counsel and aid Idaho teenagers seeking abortion care filed suit Tuesday against Republican Attorney General Raúl Labrador in a bid to overturn the state’s abortion travel ban.

The travel ban, which took effect May 5, created the crime of “abortion trafficking,” punishable by a minimum of two years in prison. It forbids helping a person under 18 years old obtain abortion pills or leave the state for abortion care without parental permission.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Boise, Idaho, says the ban infringes on the right to interstate travel and on First Amendment rights to speak about abortion and “engage in expressive conduct, including providing monies and transportation (and other support) for pregnant minors traveling within and outside of Idaho.”

The suit also says the travel ban “lacks clarity” and “invites arbitrary enforcement,” raising the specter of traffic stops of girls of reproductive age, and infringes on the right of people to cross the border into neighboring states, including Washington, where minors can legally obtain abortion care without parental consent.

Wendy Heipt, senior reproductive health and justice counsel at Legal Voice, an advocacy group representing the plaintiffs, said Idaho’s law prohibits “recruiting or harboring a minor, but what constitutes recruiting? Giving information? You can’t stop [my clients] from providing inform …

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