Judge blocks part of Idaho anti-abortion law

Judge blocks part of Idaho anti-abortion law

The State will not be able to prosecute doctors who perform voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) to protect the health of the woman, the court has decreed (archives).

A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday blocked part of a law banning nearly all abortions in Idaho, a victory for the Biden administration.

The state will not be able to prosecute doctors who perform voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) to protect the health of the woman, judge B. Lynn Winmill has decided.

This suspension will continue until the conclusion of a lawsuit challenging the ban on abortion, he added.

Idaho, a rural and conservative state in the American West, had been among the first to pass a new law after the U.S. Supreme Court's U-turn on the right at the end of June.

The text, which remains very restrictive, will come into force on Thursday.

The Attorney General of United States Merrick Garland had asked the court to block this law, saying that it violated a federal law on medical emergencies since it did not provide for an exception in the event of serious danger to health of pregnant women and authorized lawsuits against doctors.

In his decision, Judge B. Lynn Winmill emphasized that this case does not address the outdated constitutional right to abortion.

This court does not have to decide this larger, deeper question, he wrote. But the court is called upon to resolve a much smaller issue, namely whether Idaho's abortion law conflicts with a small but important piece of federal legislation. It is, Mr. Winmill continued.

Even if limited to one specific point, the decision constitutes a success – albeit a relative one – for the administration of Joe Biden.

It helps ensure that women in Idaho will receive the emergency medical care to which they are entitled under the federal law, welcomed Minister Merrick Garland in a statement on Wednesday.

A dozen states have already banned abortions on their soil and, eventually, half of the 50 States should do so.

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