The Idaho Supreme Court has upheld two of the state’s pro-life laws, giving thousands of babies in Idaho the “opportunity to live.”
In a decision on January 5, 2023, the five-member court allowed both the state’s Heartbeat law and Trigger law to remain in effect.
The Idaho Family Policy Center, an allied organization of Focus on the Family, said that the court rejected Planned Parenthood’s contention that the state’s Constitution protects an unenumerated right to abortion.
“As we have been saying for months, our Idaho Heartbeat law is constitutionally, scientifically, and morally sound,” said Blaine Conzatti, president of Idaho Family Policy Center. “We were confident that our Heartbeat law would withstand judicial scrutiny, and today settles that debate once and for all.”
The Trigger law (SB 1385) was signed by the Idaho governor on March 24, 2020, and went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The bill bans almost all abortions in The Gem State with exceptions for rape, incest and when necessary to save the life of the mother.
“Because of these two pro-life laws, thousands of Idaho babies will receive the opportunity to live their lives and reach their highest potential,” Conzatti said. He added:
The pro-life movement has worked toward this day for decades with sweat, tears, and sacrifice. Today is a great day for precious preborn babies in Idaho!
In other news, the South Carolina Supreme Court sadly ruled against the state’s six-week abortion ban on the same day as the Idaho Supreme Court’s ruling. The court ruled 3-2 against the state’s Heartbeat Bill.
Justice Hearn, one of the three justices in the majority, said in the “lead opinion” that “the decision to terminate a pregnancy rests upon the utmost personal and private considerations imaginable, and implicates a woman’s right to privacy. [The six-week abortion ban] is an unreasonable restriction upon a woman’s right to privacy and is therefore unconstitutional.”
The other two justices in the majority agreed that the opinion violated the state’s “constitutional right to privacy.” However, one of those justices, Justice Few, intriguingly suggested that he would be more inclined to uphold a complete ban on abortion.
“If the state were to pass a total ban on abortion … the privacy invasion might be reasonable under article I, section 10, because ‘human life’ has no countervailing interest; human life simply must be preserved.”
Because of this, the Palmetto State finds itself in an interesting predicament, where according to its Supreme Court, a six-week abortion ban may be illegal, but not a total abortion ban.
The South Carolina General Assembly failed to pass a Personhood Bill into law last year.
In a statement following the ruling, the Palmetto Family Council, an allied organization of Focus on the Family, said that the South Carolina Supreme Court had “decided that we do not have equal rights under the law. They have told us that the right to privacy supersedes the right to life.”
“The S.C. State Supreme Court has read into a 1970 state constitutional amendment a similar overreach of the right to privacy created by SCOTUS’ 1973 Roe v. Wade decision,” said Dave Wilson, President of Palmetto Family Council. “It was not the intention of voters in 1970 to enshrine the right to an abortion into our state’s constitution.”
Pro-life supporters should be elated at the Idaho Supreme Court ruling, while at the same time dismayed at the court’s ruling in South Carolina. However, the two divergent rulings demonstrate something important.
For years, constitutionalists and pro-life supporters and politicians campaigned on the overturning of Roe. We argued that the legislative bodies of the state and federal governments were the proper channels to decide on the issue of abortion – not the unelected and unaccountable judicial arm of the federal government.
As Justice Kavanaugh wrote in his concurring opinion to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (the decision that overturned Roe), “the Constitution is … neither pro-life nor pro-choice. The Constitution is neutral and leaves the issue for the people and their elected representatives to resolve through the democratic process in the States or Congress.”
And since Roe has been overturned, that’s exactly what we have seen. Pro-life states have become even more pro-life and have passed laws protecting preborn lives. On the other hand, pro-abortion states have reiterated and strengthened abortion “rights.”
In other words, our representative republic is now working exactly like it was designed to.
And yet, pro-life supporters who know, via biology and science, that life begins at conception must redouble our efforts to convince our fellow citizens to protect innocent preborn life under each and every law.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, quoting St. Augustine, “An unjust law is no law at all.”
“To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law,” Dr. King added.
So, when we see human laws that protect a “right” to something immoral and evil, like abortion, we know that these laws are “unjust” and not in accordance with the natural law.
Such laws do not deserve respect, and Christians should do everything in their power to repeal them and replace them with human laws that do line up with the divine law. Until each and every human being is protected under law from the moment of conception until natural death, pro-life supporters have more work to do.
Photo from Shutterstock.