Democratic Idaho Legislative leaders are asking the GOP to drop the appeal of the abortion ban verdict

Two Democratic Idaho Legislative leaders are calling on Republican Legislative leaders and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to drop their appeals against Tuesday’s ruling, which cut elements of Idaho’s near-total abortion ban that are critical to the care of pregnant patients in emergency rooms apply, paused.

During a news conference at the Idaho State Capitol on Thursday, House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel and Sen. Melissa Wintrow, both D-Boise, said appeals would cost taxpayers money to pursue a position that would put pregnant patients at risk of their health “in serious danger” is .”

The Democrats’ announcement came the day after District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled Wednesday that suspended enforcement of elements of Idaho’s anti-abortion law that may conflict with the federal Medical Treatment and Labor Act. Winmill issued the decision after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit earlier this summer challenging Idaho’s abortion law and arguing elements of it with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.

Thursday was also the day that the remaining provisions of Idaho’s near-total abortion ban law went into effect.

“Taxpayers should not be forced to fund a legal effort whose sole purpose is to deny women emergency medical care so they could remain paralyzed or lose organ function,” Rubel said during the press conference. “We call on Lawrence Wasden, Speaker (Scott) Bedke and Pro Tem (Chuck) Winder to accept Judge Winmill’s decision and refrain from further appeals.”

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in Idaho released a statement promising to contest Winmill’s ruling. They argued that the injunction suspending enforcement of elements of the abortion ban could lead to more abortions.

“In order to protect the lives of as many of these children as possible, the Idaho Legislature will use all legal means to end this injunction as soon as possible,” the Republican lawmakers wrote in a statement released Wednesday. “The Republican caucus of the Idaho House is confident that a lower or higher appellate court will find the federal administration’s case ill-founded.”

During the press conference, Wintrow said the state can instead reduce the need for abortions by increasing access to contraception and promoting and teaching medically accurate sexual health education. Wintrow also continued to criticize intact elements of the abortion law, which provide an exception for victims of rape and incest only if they first provide a copy of a police report.

“The attrition of our rights is exhausting and debilitating,” Wintrow said.

Winmill’s Junction will stand pending a final judgment in this case.

The Idaho attorney general’s office declined to comment on Winmill’s verdict, saying the case is still active, the Sun previously reported.

Under the Idaho Prohibition of Abortion Act, a medical provider violating the law faces a prison sentence of two to five years. Anyone who performs or assists in performing an abortion could also have their license to practice medicine suspended for six months for a first violation and then revoked for a second violation.

Idaho’s anti-abortion law is Senate Bill 1385, which Republicans passed during the 2020 legislative session. It was written to take effect 30 days after a US Supreme Court ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade was repealed, which guarantees a right to an abortion.

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