The first of Idaho’s slate of abortion bans takes effect today as legal challenges wind their way through the courts.
Idaho Republican legislators passed the law last year, which bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. That’s before many women know they’re pregnant.
Doctors who facilitate an abortion after that time could face between two to five years in prison if convicted.
The only exceptions are in cases of rape, incest, or “medical emergencies.”
It hasn’t taken effect until now because it required a federal appeals court to deem a similar law to be constitutional, which happened in July. That came after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its decision in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a right to abortion in the country.
Last Friday, the Idaho Supreme Court declined to temporarily halt these laws while legal challenges to them are ongoing.
Family members of a fetus aborted after six weeks can also sue the doctor in civil court for a minimum of $20,000 under a law passed earlier this year.
Idaho’s near-total abortion ban takes effect on Aug. 25 barring intervention from a federal judge in a fourth lawsuit. Oral arguments on that motion are set for Monday morning.
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This story was originally published by Boise State Public Radio.