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Protecting Minors and Parental Rights in Idaho
Ana Brennan, J.D.
Society of St. Sebastian | 07 April 2023
When Roe reined as the law of the land, the pro-life movement pursued many legal avenues to try and save as many lives as possible. One of these life-saving pursuits has been parental involvement laws. Whether notice or consent, these laws have played a crucial role in protecting young girls from the unscrupulous abortion industry and other nefarious actors interfering with the parent/child relationship.
Now that Roe is in the trash bin of history, many states have reverted back to their pre-Roe laws, banning abortion almost completely. But even in states where abortion is essentially illegal, steps still need to be taken to protect pregnant minors, their unborn children, and parental rights. Idaho recently took a unique step to protect the integrity of parental rights. On April 5, 2023, the governor of Idaho, Brad Little, signed into law a new bill making abortion trafficking of a minor a crime. In relevant part the statute reads:
18-623. ABORTION TRAFFICKING. (1) An adult who, with the intent to conceal an abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor, either procures an abortion, as described in section 18-604, 18 Idaho Code, or obtains an abortion-inducing drug for the pregnant minor to use for an abortion by recruiting, harboring, or transporting the pregnant minor within this state commits the crime of abortion trafficking.
Abortion advocates were predictably outraged and have threatened lawsuits. Some hysterically claimed that women would be prohibited from leaving the state, turning Idaho into one big prison, or the new law would make it illegal to even discuss abortion. And of course, they dusted off the old chestnut predicting pregnant minors would be endangered by retribution from parents.
First, no one, not even a minor is prohibited from leaving the state. A minor can even leave the state to get an abortion either by themselves, with another minor, or with one of their parents. Also, the law does not stipulate that a state line even needs to be crossed. It specifically states, “within this state commits the crime of abortion trafficking.” Second, the law also explicitly states, “The provisions of this section shall not be construed to impose liability on speech or conduct protected by the first amendment of the United States constitution or by section 9, article I of the constitution of the state of Idaho.”
Finally, we know from almost 50 years of experience that parental involvement laws protect minors from predators. In 1998, the Child Custody Protection Act was introduced into Congress. This law would have made it a crime to transport a minor across state lines to procure an abortion.
The inception of the CCPA was precipitated by two high-profile stories involving minors who were transported across state lines to avoid parental involvement laws in their states. In one case, a 13-year-old girl was taken from Pennsylvania, which has a parental involvement law, to New York, which does not, by her boyfriend and an adult friend. The parents of the young girl learned of the abortion two-weeks later when their daughter was hospitalized for depression. Upon hospitalization, it was discovered that the abortion was incomplete, requiring further surgery. In another case, a 12-year-old girl was drugged and raped. When it was discovered that she was pregnant, the mother of the rapist took the minor out of state for an abortion to cover-up her son’s crime. This young girl also had an incomplete abortion and required additional surgery.
These cases illustrate how parental involvement laws and protecting parental rights are needed to protect minors. Unfortunately, the attempt to correct this problem 25 years ago did not pass. Now, in the aftermath of Roe, Congress has reintroduced the CCPA.
 Child Custody Protection Act: Hearings on H.R. 1218, Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Committee on the Judiciary 106th Congress (May 27, 1999) Statement of Eileen Roberts.
 Child Custody Protection Act: Hearings on H.R. 3682, Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Committee on the Judiciary 105th Congress (May 21, 1998) Statement of Joyce Farley.