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Idaho

Trigger Law Statutory Cite(s)

Trigger law: Criminal Abortion

Idaho Code Ann sec. 18-622

Definitions section: Idaho Code Ann. § 18-604.

Does this law have a potential impact on IVF/Reproductive medicine?

Why or why not?

  • The law should not affect IVF or other reproductive medicine services occurring outside the context of a pregnancy. 
  • In defining pregnancy, the statute states that “the reproductive condition of having a developing fetus in the body commences with fertilization.”  That creates some ambiguity, but presumably that would require both fertilization and the fetus being in the body. 

Does this law explicitly reference IVF, assisted reproductive technology or reproductive medicine?

There are no explicit references to IVF or reproductive medicine services.

Are there any penalties in this law that could apply to ART procedures?

N/A

Relevant definitions

The trigger law does not have its own definitions section. The chapter definitions section defines terms relevant to reproductive care:
  • Abortion” is defined as “the use of any means to intentionally terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child.” The definitions section explicitly exempts the use of an IUD or birth control pill to prevent ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized ovum from the definition of abortion.
  • Fetus” and “unborn child” are both defined to mean “an individual organism of the species Homo sapiens from fertilization until live birth.”
  • Medical emergency” is defined to mean “a condition that, on the basis of the physician’s good faith clinical judgement, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
  • Pregnant” and “pregnancy” are defined as “the reproductive condition of having a developing fetus in the body and commences with fertilization.”

Do the definitions/terms of the trigger law apply to other areas of state code?

The definitions apply throughout the chapter, which is part of the criminal code.

What is the “trigger” for this law to take effect?

Trigger law takes effect 30 days after either:
  • The Supreme Court issues an opinion restoring the authority to prohibit abortion in the state; or
  • The Constitution is amended to similarly return authority over the regulation of abortion to the states.

Key provisions: What does the law prohibit and when does it apply?

  • The Act criminalizes the activity of “every person who performs or attempts to perform an abortion.” Abortion is defined to mean the “use of any means to intentionally terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child.”
  • Individuals who perform or attempt to perform an abortion with the intent to terminate a pregnancy have committed the crime of “criminal abortion.”
  • The act outlines several affirmative defenses including an abortion performed by a physician who determined that the “abortion was medically necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman.” Such an abortion must be performed in such a “manner” that “provided the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive, unless… termination of a pregnancy in that manner would have posed a greater risk of death of the pregnant woman.”
  • It is also an affirmative defense if the abortion was performed on a woman or minor child who “reported the act of rape or incest” to the authorities.
  • Women who undergo or attempt to undergo abortions are shielded from any criminal conviction and penalty. 

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