Idaho taken effective legislative action to protect women and the unborn and maintains comprehensive legal protection for the conscience rights of healthcare providers. However, the state does not regulate emerging biotechnologies such as human cloning and destructive embryo research.
- Idaho has adopted a legislative declaration recognizing “the fundamental importance” of Idaho’s interest in preserving the lives of unborn children and declaring that it is the “public policy of this state that all state statutes, rules, and constitutional provisions shall be interpreted to prefer, by all legal means, live childbirth over abortion.”
- However, a 1996 decision by the Idaho Supreme Court has been interpreted as creating a state constitutional right to abortion that is broader than that provided by the U.S. Constitution.
- Idaho prohibits abortions at or after 5-months (i.e.,20-weeks) on the basis of pain experienced by unborn children. The law is in litigation.
- Under Idaho law, a physician may not perform an abortion until 24 hours after he or she provides a woman with an “accurate and substantially complete” explanation of the abortion procedure to be used; the inherent risks and possible complications of the procedure, including possible effects on future childbearing; and alternatives to abortion and the risks of those alternatives. State-prepared material on fetal development, the availability of assistance from both public and private agencies, and a description of commonly used abortion procedures and their specific risks must also be made available to the woman.
- An abortion provider must offer a woman seeking an abortion the opportunity to view any ultrasound that is conducted in preparation for the procedure. Additionally, woman has the right to ask for an ultrasound, even if the abortion provider does not routinely conduct one.
- Idaho also prohibits anyone from coercing a woman into having an abortion and allows a victim of coercive abuse to bring a civil suit against her abuser.
- Idaho requires written consent from one parent before an abortion is performed on a minor under the age of 18, unless there is a medical emergency, the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or a judicial order is obtained.
- Only physicians licensed by the state to practice medicine and surgery or osteopathic medicine and surgery may perform abortions.
- Idaho has an enforceable abortion reporting law, but does not require the reporting of information to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The measure pertains to both surgical and nonsurgical abortions.
- Idaho follows the federal standard for Medicaid funding for abortions, only permitting the use of federal or state matching Medicaid funds for abortions necessary to preserve the life of the woman or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. It also provides that no funds available to the state Department of Health and Welfare, by appropriations or otherwise, may be used to pay for abortions, except when necessary to save the life of the mother or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
- Idaho prohibits private insurance companies from covering abortion, except in cases of life endangerment.
- The state prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage within state insurance Exchanges established pursuant to the federal healthcare law except in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.
Legal Recognition and Protection of Unborn and Newly Born:
- Idaho deﬁnes the killing of an unborn child at any stage of gestation as homicide.
- Idaho deﬁnes a nonfatal assault on an unborn child as a criminal offense.
- Idaho allows wrongful death (civil) actions when a viable unborn child is killed through negligent or criminal action.
- Idaho has not enacted laws regarding human cloning or destructive embryo research, fetal experimentation, or egg harvesting, nor does it promote ethical alternatives to such destructive research.
- Idaho mandates that only physicians perform artiﬁcial insemination and regulates semen donation.
End of Life Laws:
- In 2011, Idaho enacted a law making assisted suicide a felony
- The state has implemented a Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Paradigm Program.
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Laws:
Participation in Abortion:
- A physician is not required to perform or assist in abortions. The state protects “health care professionals” (principally, licensed medical providers, including pharmacists) who decline to participate in abortion or the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs.
- Nurses, medical technicians, hospital employees, and employees of physicians who object on religious, moral, or personal grounds are not required to participate in abortions. The objection must be in writing.
- A hospital, upon an objection of its governing board, is not required to admit a woman or permit the use of its facilities for the purposes of performing an abortion.
Participation in Research Harmful to Human Life:
- The state protects “health care professionals” (principally, licensed medical providers, including pharmacists) who decline to participate in human cloning, embryo research, and destructive stem-cell technologies.
What Happened in 2013:
- Idaho enacted a technical change to its “Medical Consent and Natural Death Act” which was recently strengthened to provide protections for a patient who has expressed a desire to continue life-sustaining care (through advance directives or those authorized to consent for him or her).
- Idaho considered legislation limiting abortions, regulating abortion clinics, and providing tax incentives or exemptions for pregnancy resource centers.
Recommendations for Idaho:
Women’s Protection Project Priorities:
- Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act
- Parental Involvement Enhancement Act
- Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act
- Child Protection Act
- State Constitutional Amendment (providing that there is no state constitutional right to abortion)
- Defunding the Abortion Industry and Advancing Women’s Health Act
- Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act
- Joint Resolution Commending Pregnancy Care Centers
Legal Recognition and Protection for the Unborn:
- Born-Alive Infant Protection Act
- Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act
- Human Cloning Prohibition Act
- Destructive Embryo Research Act
- Prohibition on Public Funding of Human Cloning and Destructive Embryo Research Act