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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Federal judge blocks Idaho ‘abortion trafficking’ law

Demonstrators attend an abortion rights rally outside the Idaho State Capitol in Boise, Idaho, on May 14, 2022.    (Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman)

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the Idaho “abortion trafficking” law from being enforced, the Associated Press reported.

In the ruling, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Debora K. Grasham wrote, “This lawsuit is not about the right to an abortion. It is about much more. Namely, long-standing and well recognized fundamental rights of freedom of speech, expression, due process, and parental rights. These are not competing rights, nor are they at odds.”

Advocacy organizations and an attorney sued the Idaho attorney general, challenging the abortion trafficking law’s constitutionality this past summer. The lawsuit, according to the AP, asked the Idaho District Court to grant a temporary injunction that would block the law from being enforced while the case proceeds and sought to challenge the vagueness of the law.

The Idaho Legislature passed the abortion trafficking law, House Bill 242, in March. While abortion is banned in Idaho at all stages of pregnancy, HB 242, which was signed by Gov. Brad Little in April and put into effect in May, is designed to amend and add to “existing law to provide for the crime of abortion trafficking, to provide certain requirements for and restrictions on a civil action, and to provide prosecution authority for the attorney general,” the legislation reads.

According to the AP, Grasham wrote she was not placing parental rights above free expression or due process.

“The state can, and Idaho does, criminalize certain conduct occurring within its own borders such as abortion, kidnapping, and human trafficking,” she wrote. “What the state cannot do is craft a statute muzzling the speech and expressive activities of a particular viewpoint with which the state disagrees under the guise of parental rights.”