Under the law, any adults who help a minor obtain an abortion pill or a surgical procedure within Idaho or across state lines commits “trafficking,” punishable by up to five years in prison.
Abortion remains legal in states neighboring Idaho such as Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Montana.
The Idaho law, which was signed Wednesday, is the first to restrict interstate travel to obtain an abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June. The decision returned regulation of the procedure to the states.
Reproductive rights activists swiftly condemned the law as a danger to the safety of young people.
“We have a responsibility to keep young people safe, and this bill does nothing but put them at risk,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju in a statement.
“This is a clear and dangerous escalation of anti-choice extremists’ push to block all abortion care in every state, and our families will continue to suffer the consequences. Our children deserve better,” Timmaraju said.
Idaho already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the U.S. The state has outlawed performing an abortion as a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Idaho law allows a doctor to perform an abortion if the person’s life is danger or if they are a victim of rape or incest.
But the doctor must present a “preponderance of evidence” that the abortion was necessary under the ban’s limited exceptions to avoid prosecution. In the case of rape or incest, the woman has to present a police report to the doctor.
After Roe’s fall, one of the few options left to women and girls who live in states with abortion bans is to cross state lines to places where the procedure is legal. But Idaho’s law would largely cut off even that access for minors, potentially putting children in crisis situations at risk.
In June, a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after she was raped by a 27-year-old man crossed state lines from Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion because her home state bans the procedure after six weeks. Gerson Fuentes was indicted on two counts of rape in July, and reportedly confessed to sexually assaulting the girl.
Indiana’s Republican attorney general, Todd Rokita, asked the state medical licensing board to discipline the doctor who performed the abortion, alleging that they did not report the girl’s abuse to the authorities. The physician, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, said she complied with all reporting requirements.
In July, President Joe Biden condemned laws that force sexual assault victims to cross state lines to receive abortions as a “horror.”
“A 10-year-old should be forced to give birth to a rapist’s child? I can’t think of anything more extreme,” the president said.