January 9, 2023

Idaho Supreme Court Rules State Constitution Does Not Create Right to Abortion

On January 5th, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled 3-2 that the Idaho state constitution does not include a right to abortion.

Planned Parenthood issued a legal challenge in an attempt to block pro-life laws that were passed in 2020 and 2022. These included a "trigger" law that took effect immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June. That trigger law bans all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother's life.

Planned Parenthood argued that the right to abortion was implied by Idaho's constitution through "a fundamental right to privacy and to make familial decisions." The court disagreed in its final ruling.

“… We cannot read a fundamental right to abortion into the text of the Idaho Constitution,” she wrote. “Since Idaho attained statehood in 1890, this court has repeatedly and steadfastly interpreted the Idaho Constitution based on the plain and ordinary meaning of its text, as intended by those who framed and adopted the provision at issue.”

“That is our duty as the judicial branch: to sustain the rule of law — not to promote our personal policy preferences,” Justice Brody continued. “If we were to jettison that disciplined approach, even in the face of a uniquely emotional and politically divisive policy issue, the Idaho Constitution would no longer be the voice of the people of Idaho — it would be effectively replaced by the voice of a select few sitting on this Court.”