Two states took major steps to protect preborn life recently. In Idaho, Governor Brad Little signed into law a heartbeat abortion ban bill – prohibiting abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected – modeled after the Texas heartbeat law that has successfully withstood several legal challenges. And in Oklahoma, the state House of Representatives also passed an abortion bill featuring some of the Texas law’s characteristics, but went further by banning all abortions, except to save the life of the mother.
The Idaho law, SB 1309, which The Daily Citizen has previously reported on, is a modification of an existing Idaho heartbeat law currently blocked by a judge’s ruling. Learning from Texas’ success in the courts with its heartbeat ban, the Idaho legislature revised its law to incorporate the private enforcement aspect of the Texas version. It will go into effect in 30 days.
The genius of the private enforcement provision is that it doesn’t allow abortion sellers to ask a court to enjoin state officials from enforcing the law, for the simple reason that no state officials are delegated such authority under the law’s provisions. Under the Texas version, now adopted in Idaho, abortionists have to wait to be sued by a private party, and then raise their constitutional arguments, and hope a judge agrees with them.
And that’s a risk abortionists have been unwilling to take thus far.
The Idaho Family Policy Center (IFPC), a pro-family Christian ministry and ally of Focus on the Family, celebrated the governor’s action.
“Today marks a historic day for the State of Idaho, which has now taken an unprecedented step in reversing five decades of bad policy,” Blaine Conzatti, President of IFPC, said in a press release. “Sadly, tens of thousands of precious babies have been murdered since the Idaho legislature legalized abortion in 1973. But just one month from now, much of that needless slaughter will finally end. And I promise that we will keep fighting until every preborn child is valued and protected by law, no matter the stage of development.”
Oklahoma’s House of Representatives has taken the Idaho and Texas laws one step further. By a vote of 78-19 recently, the House passed House Bill 4327 (HB 4327), which bans all abortions with one exception:
“A physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman, unless such abortion is performed to save the life of the mother.”
The Oklahoma bill allows private parties to receive $10,000 in damages if they are successful in suing an abortionist for violating the law. In Idaho, the damages are set higher, at $20,000.
HB 4327 will now go to the state Senate, which earlier in March passed a six-week ban along with five other pro-life measures.
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