Idaho Continues to Place Unprecedented Barriers on Reproductive Health Care Across the State

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BOISE – Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI) in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho (ACLU), Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and the law firm Ferguson Durham filed a lawsuit against the State of Idaho challenging House Bill 638, the Abortion Complications Reporting Act. The law requires providers in the state to report on more than 37 new “complications,” ranging from medical conditions that have no link to abortion, like breast cancer, to the inability to come in for a follow-up appointment, which is not a medical condition. The reporting requirement doesn’t exist for any other medical procedure. The bill was signed into law by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter in March.

The law violates constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection by arbitrarily singling out one particular medical procedure and requiring invasive reporting that has nothing to do with protecting patient health care. Providers will now face potential criminal and civil penalties and professional discipline, which could result in the loss of their medical license, for non-compliance with these unconstitutional, vague, and overreaching reporting requirements. Furthermore, the information gathered by these requirements is not protected from disclosure, putting patient and provider privacy at risk.

This law is nothing but government interference designed to restrict Idahoans access to legal reproductive health care,” said Hannah Brass Greer, Chief Legal Counsel at PPGNHI. “This bill should never have passed in the first place as it has no basis in science and medicine. We deserve more from our elected leaders. At Planned Parenthood, safety is our top priority; HB 638 is not about patient safety. Abortion care is already incredibly safe. This is another attempt by Idaho politicians to shame and stigmatize people seeking abortion care and to spread the myth that abortion is dangerous. These reporting requirements burden patients and their medical providers and represent another example of government overreach by Idaho politicians. This law is unconstitutional and should be struck down.”

HB 638 ignores existing data on 45 years of safe and legal abortions by requiring the collection of irrelevant information about health “complications” arising from an abortion.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S District Court, District of Idaho. PPGNHI is represented by Deborah Ferguson and Craig Durham with Ferguson Durham, PLLC, Ritchie Eppink and Molly Kafka with the ACLU of Idaho, PPGNHI counsel Hannah Brass Greer, and PPFA.

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Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands is the region's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. The organization operates 27 health centers in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, and Western Washington and provides medical services and sexuality education for thousands of people each year. Planned Parenthood is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and relies heavily on charitable donations to ensure our patients' ability to determine their own destinies and receive the health care they need.

The ACLU of Idaho is a non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. We believe that the freedom of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. The ACLU of Idaho strives to advance civil liberties and civil rights by activities that include litigation, education, and lobbying. More information is available at www.acluidaho.org.

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