Woman challenges abortion laws in Idaho
Summary of story from Huffington Post, August 31, 2011
An Idaho woman has filed the first lawsuit in the US to directly challenge the “fetal pain” abortion ban.
Jennie Linn McCormack filed suit in the federal court against Bannock County’s prosecuting attorney, contending Idaho’s new law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy violates the Constitution.
Idaho is one of six states that have enacted such bans in the past two years based on the premise that a fetus may feel pain at 20 weeks.
McCormack, who was briefly charged with having an illegal abortion, is seeking a class-action status in her lawsuit against prosecutor Mark Hiedeman.
Her lawsuit challenges the lack of access to abortions for women in her region, as well as the ban on abortions after 20 weeks.
The prosecutor Mark Hiedeman and the Republican state Senator Chuck Winder, who sponsored Idaho’s fetal pain legislation, could not be reached for comments.
Mary Spaulding Balch from the National Right to Life Committee said that they believe the law will be upheld.
“We are confident that the Supreme Court will ultimately agree and will recognize the right of the state to protect these [unborn] children from the excruciatingly painful death of abortion,” she said in a statement.
Janet Crepps, director of the US legal program for the Centre for Reproductive Rights, said: “Laws like fetal pain bills are both unconstitutional and bad policy.”
“They also are demeaning to women and their doctors because they don’t take into account how each woman’s situation is different.”