On Wednesday, the Idaho Senate voted to approve the Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks, unless the woman's life is endangered, and making it a felony for abortion providers to conduct the procedure after 20 weeks. Last week, the Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee passed the bill by a vote of 7-2. The bill will now go to the state House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass, for a vote.
The Idaho Attorney General's Office stated that under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Unborn Child Protection Act is unconstitutional "insofar as it proscribes some non-therapeutic abortions even before a fetus has reached viability." Moreover, the American College of Gynecology refutes assertions made by Idaho's Republican senators that fetuses can feel pain at 20 week, stating that there is "no legitimate evidence that fetuses can experience pain."
The Idaho bill is modeled on a Nebraska law, signed in April 2010, which outlaws abortion after 20 weeks. Nebraska is also the first state to restrict access to abortion by requiring a doctor to screen women for any mental or physical problems before they perform the procedure.
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 3/24/11; Reuters 3/23/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/18/11; Statement of the Idaho Office of the Attorney General 2/14/11