Idaho Supreme Court rejects request of the Catholic Church to file a brief defending the state’s new abortion law

By Dave Andrusko

The Catholic church asked on Monday, the Idaho Supreme answered on Wednesday: No!

Without explanation, the Idaho Supreme Court yesterday said the Catholic church could not file a “friend of the court” brief defending the state’s new abortion law. 

In passing the Fetal Heartbeat Preborn Child Protection Act [Senate Bill 1309], Idaho became “the first state to enact a law modeled after a Texas statute banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and allowing it to be enforced through civil lawsuits to avoid constitutional court challenges,” according to Keith Ridler of the Associated Press.

SB 1309 cruised through the legislature. It passed the Senate 28-6 and the House 51-14.

Planned Parenthood Great Northwest and a Valley County doctor asked the Idaho Supreme Court to review the law before it was scheduled to go into effect on April 22

“The state filed a motion asking the court to reconsider an order to expedite the case, and allow more time,” the Associated Press reported. “Planned Parenthood agreed to allow more time if the court blocked implementation of the law pending further court action.”

“The court also set a deadline of April 28 for the state to submit its brief to the court, and ordered Planned Parenthood to file a reply brief no later than 14 days after the state submits its brief,” according to the AP. “That means the court will likely not hear oral arguments until the middle of May, at the earliest.”

Bishop Peter Christensen, the bishop of the diocese which covers the entire state, wrote in a legal filing that the church helped get the abortion ban through the Legislature. The Diocese “counseled and educated legislators regarding the same, and provided support during the legislative process to proponents of the bill,” Christensen wrote in the legal filing. 

In the request to intervene, attorneys for the Catholic Church said the Diocese has “maintained a vested interest in the dignity and sanctity of all human life, including life of the unborn.”