Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Idaho Woman Sues to Challenge Idaho Abortion Laws

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Reuters is reporting that a Pocatello woman, Jennie Linn McCormack, has filed suit against the State of Idaho to challenge both its long-standing anti-abortion law and a new law that makes abortion after 20 weeks a felony. McCormack is taking this step after being charged with violating Idaho's new ban on late-term abortions for using pregnancy termination pills she ordered online.

McCormack's lawyer, Richard Hearn, told Reuters that the law was not yet in effect when McCormack terminated her pregnancy in December of 2010. But more than that, he says the law is discriminatory.

From the article:

The 1972 Idaho law discriminates against McCormack and other women of limited means in southeastern Idaho, which lacks any abortion providers, by forcing them to seek more costly surgical abortions far from home, the lawsuit says.

But Hearn, also a physician, argues that both the 1972 law and the newly enacted Idaho statute pose other unconstitutional barriers to abortion. He cited, for example, the failure to exempt third-trimester pregnancies (25 weeks or more) in cases where a woman's health, not just her life, is at risk.

For McCormack, a mother of three who gets by on an income of $200-$250 a month, the trip to Utah for a surgical abortion would have been difficult.

The lawsuit is seeking to bar prosecution of women under the state abortion laws until courts determine their constitutionality. Reuters is also reporting that this may be the first federal court case against any of the wave of late-term abortion laws recently passed in five states.

A hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8.

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