This story was first published by Idaho Reports on Dec. 29, 2023.
Fourth Judicial District Judge Jason Scott on Friday only partially granted a motion from the Idaho Attorney General’s Office to dismiss an abortion lawsuit.
The case, Adkins v. Idaho, revolves around women who seek abortion during medically complex pregnancies.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit earlier this month, arguing that it is the policy of Idaho to allow no exception for an abortion in situations where the physician believes that the fetus is unlikely to survive after birth.
The Attorney General’s Office leaned heavily in arguments this month on the fact that the Idaho Supreme Court found in an earlier case brought by Planned Parenthood that women have no constitutional right to an abortion in the state.
The complaint filed in September names four women who couldn’t get medical abortions in the state, two Idaho physicians and the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians. The lawsuit comes from the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the women named in it had wanted their pregnancies but faced serious medical complications.
Judge Scott’s order allowed two of their claims to survive.
The first seeks a declaratory judgment on whether a physician may “provide a pregnant person with abortion care when the physician determines, in their good faith judgement and in consultation with the pregnant person, that the pregnant person has an emergency medical condition that poses a risk of death or a risk to their health.” The second seeks a declaratory judgement regarding the medical circumstances in which a physician may intervene and where Idaho’s abortion ban stops a physician.
Another claim that Scott allowed to move forward included plaintiffs’ claim seeking a declaratory judgement that the Idaho Constitution, by recognizing “enjoying and defending life” and “pursuing happiness and securing safety” as “inalienable rights” entitles a woman to abortion care in emergency situations.
Scott wrote that the case differs from the Idaho Supreme Court case in that the plaintiff “seeks not the wholesale invalidation of Idaho’s Abortion Laws but instead a ruling that they violate (the Constitution) in a subset of situations to which they apply.”
Those claims will move forward to a civil trial.
Scott dismissed all other claims made by the plaintiffs, such as whether Idaho’s abortions laws violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution and due process.
Scott dismissed Gov. Brad Little, the Board of Medicine, and Attorney General Raúl Labrador as defendants, leaving just the state of Idaho as a defendant. Scott wrote that the others are redundant defendants, as all three have roles under the umbrella of the state of Idaho.
The next court date in the case is set for Oct. 24, 2024.
All abortion in Idaho remains illegal, with exceptions for reported rape, reported incest, and the life of the mother.
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