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BOISE, ID — Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky and abortion provider Dr. Caitlin Gustafson filed a lawsuit in the Idaho Supreme Court today against the state’s “trigger” ban on abortion at any point in pregnancy.

The law, passed by the Idaho state legislature in 2020, is scheduled to take effect later in the summer, and would impose severe criminal penalties on anyone who violates its terms. The lawsuit contends that the ban violates Idahoans’ right to privacy and equal protection under the Idaho Constitution. The lawsuit also claims that the ban’s terms are so vague that medical providers will be unable to know when they are permitted to provide care for patients experiencing miscarriage or when they may provide an abortion needed to protect a patient’s life, risking the health and lives of Idahoans.

“Even though we knew this day was coming, it doesn’t change how devastating Friday’s ruling was for our providers, patients, and their loved ones,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky. “In a single moment, Idahoans’ right to control their own bodies, lives, and personal medical decisions was taken away but we will not stand for it. We will never back down. We will never stop fighting.”

If allowed to take effect, the ban will prevent health care professionals from providing necessary medical care, forcing patients to travel out of state if they have the means, carry an unintended or dangerous pregnancy to term against their will, or look for abortion care outside the health care system. Without relief, the ban will disproportionately impact Idaho’s communities of color, people with low incomes, and those living in rural areas.  

“It is abhorrent that we have now entered an era where the delivery of safe essential health care will be criminalized,” said Caitlin Gustafson, MD. “Physicians take an oath to provide the care patients need to keep them safe, so we cannot stand by while the government intrudes on this deeply personal and complex medical decision.”

Lawyers from the law firms WilmerHale and Bartlett French filed the petition on behalf of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky and Idaho provider Dr. Caitlin Gustafson.

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