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Abortion rights supporters hope to postpone implementation of new Idaho abortion laws

Attorney Alan Schoenfeld at Idaho Supreme Court
Idaho Public Television screenshot
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Alan Schoenfeld, representing Planned Parenthood, argued the new abortion laws should not take effect until the Idaho Supreme Court determines their constitutionality.

Attorneys for the groups made their cases to Idaho's Supreme Court.

Idaho’s Supreme Court is now deliberating whether two abortion laws should be allowed to take effect later this month as planned.

“The statutes before the court, SB1309 and the total abortion ban, trample numerous safeguards secured by the Idaho constitution," said Alan Schoenfeld, an attorney for Planned Parenthood and abortion provider Dr. Caitlin Gustafson.

"Petitioners have made a strong showing on the merits because of the patently unconstitutional way the legislature has acted. Stays from this court are necessary to ensure that Idaho women are not irreparably injured by the complete unavailability of abortion care in this state," he said during his arguments before the court.

Planned Parenthood and Gustafson believe the Idaho constitution allows people the right to privacy when making medical decisions. On Wednesday, their attorney, Alan Schoenfeld, made the case that until the court rules on that question, the laws should not be enacted.

“This court should preserve the status quo that has obtained in this state for 50 years and ensure that Idaho women have access to safe, comprehensive reproductive health care, including access to safe abortion care," he said.

Megan Larrondo from the Idaho Attorney General’s office argued the laws should take effect as planned, as did attorney Monte Stewart, who represents House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Winder, who filed as intervenors in the case.

“That stay is perpetuating in Idaho the Roe-Casey abortion regime, which, as of June 24, is stripped of all legitimacy. It has none, yet it’s operating in this state because of that stay," Stewart said.

The justices must decide whether to combine three related lawsuits and to hear the challenges themselves, rather than referring them to lower state courts. The attorneys for Planned Parenthood and the state agree the cases should be consolidated and remain in front of the high court, rather than referred to a lower court.