Sen. Murray says Washington will ‘bear the brunt’ of Idaho’s abortion ban

Mar 24, 2022, 8:16 AM | Updated: 10:55 am
Blake Coker and Autumn Myers protest Senate Bill 1309, the Fetal Heartbeat Protection Act, during a rally at the Idaho Capitol on Saturday, March, 19, 2022 in Boise, Idaho. (Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman via AP, File)
(Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman via AP, File)

Idaho Governor Brad Little has signed into law an abortion ban bill that critics say follows in the footsteps of restrictions enacted in the state of Texas.

The bill bans nearly all abortions after approximately six weeks, and allows family members and certain individuals to sue an abortion provider for a cash prize for helping a patient get an abortion. It was modeled after Texas’ SB 8.

Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray released a statement in response to the Idaho abortion ban Wednesday, calling the law “cruel,” “dangerous” and “a threat to fundamental rights everywhere.”

“Over six months ago, it was Texans who lost their constitutional right to abortion. Today, it’s Idahoans who are losing that right. Soon, it could be Oklahomans. And extreme Republicans across the country have no intention of stopping there,” Murray wrote.

Sen. Murray also noted that providers and patients in nearby states, like Washington, will have to “bear the brunt of the health care crisis” these bans will “inevitably create.”

Unless a court intervenes, the Idaho law will go into effect in 30 days. The bill’s opponents are exploring options for a court challenge.

Washington prepares for ‘influx of patients from Idaho’ after strengthening abortion protections

Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed a bill designed to strengthen Washington’s own abortion protections. That bill — HB 1851 — updates outdated language in Washington laws related to abortion rights, as well as codifying existing practices. It also clarifies that licensed providers, nurses, and clinicians can legally provide abortion care even if they’re not doctors, and provides additional protections from prosecution for those seeking an abortion in Washington coming from states with more restrictive laws like Texas, and now Idaho.

Gov. Inslee said at the time of signing that his hope is to have Washington provide access to those in the neighboring state in the months to come.

“This bill will increase the number of people who are statutorily allowed to provide this service to the citizens of Idaho,” he noted. “If Idaho will not stand up for your constitutional rights, we will.” 

The KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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Sen. Murray says Washington will ‘bear the brunt’ of Idaho’s abortion ban