Jennie Linn McCormack has filed suit against the state of Idaho to challenge both the long-standing anti-abortion law and a new law that makes abortions after 20 weeks, regardless of rape or incest, a felony.
According to Reuters, 33-year-old McCormack was prosecuted for terminating her own pregnancy with an FDA-approved two-pill system she ordered over the internet. The charges were later dropped due to a lack of evidence, but the experience led to her large, class-action lawsuit against the state.
The newest Idaho law banning abortions after 20 weeks was passed in April, modeled off similar laws in other states and based on controversial medical research that says fetuses feel pain after 20 weeks. McCormack’s lawyer, Richard Hearn, contends that these laws are discriminatory.
The 1972 Idaho law discriminates against McCormack and other women of limited means in southeastern Idaho, which lacks any abortion providers, by forcing them to seek more costly surgical abortions far from home, the lawsuit says.
Hearn, also a physician, argues that both the 1972 law and the newly enacted Idaho statute pose other unconstitutional barriers to abortion. He cited, for example, the failure to exempt third-trimester pregnancies (25 weeks or more) in cases where a woman’s health, not just her life, is at risk.
The lawsuit aims to bar prosecutors from charging women under the abortion laws until the constitutionality of the laws is determined. A hearing on the request is set for September 8 in Boise.