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Judge: Idaho doctors can give out-of-state abortion referrals

The judge ruled the state's decision to prosecute providers who gave out-of-state abortion referrals was a violation of their freedom of speech.
Judge: Idaho doctors can give out-of-state abortion referrals
Posted at 8:21 AM, Aug 01, 2023

An Idaho judge on Monday temporarily blocked the state from prosecuting doctors who give patients referrals for out-of-state abortions, finding that the law was in violation of a medical provider's freedom of speech.

A district court judge agreed with a challenge filed by Planned Parenthood that argued Republican Attorney General Raul Labrador's interpretation of the state's abortion ban was in violation of provider's First Amendment rights. The law had called for revoking the license of health care providers who assist in any abortion, including referring a patient across state lines to obtain the procedure.

SEE MORE: Idaho bans youth gender-affirming care, certain out-of-state abortions

Since the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, more than a dozen state have enacted laws banning abortion under certain circumstances. This has led several patients in places where the procedure is outlawed to cross state lines.

Paige Erbele is a long-time Idahoan and says opinions about abortion have permeated conversations over the past year. She told Scripps News it's because of this culture shift that she's made the difficult decision to leave.

"I love Idaho. It's my hometown. It always will be," Erbele said. "But my values don't align with the values that I see in the state right now."

Idaho's current abortion law bans the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant. The Idaho Supreme Court upheld that ban earlier this year, despite several legal challenges that claimed the right to abortion was protected under the state's constitution.

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