Deciding whether or not to have an abortion is a big decision and, in the Palouse Region, the abortion laws are different just 6 miles apart between Washington and Idaho. If you are considering abortion, it is important to be informed before you make the permanent decision. What are the abortion laws of the state you’re in?

IDAHO

When is abortion legal in Idaho?

Abortion is legal in Idaho in the first and second trimesters after a consultation with a licensed medical doctor (referred to from here on out as “physician”). A physician must determine whether an abortion is appropriate through consideration of physical, emotional, psychological and or/familial factors, if the child would be born with a defect, and if the pregnancy resulted from felonious intercourse such as rape or incest.[i]

In the third trimester, abortion is legal in Idaho if necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman. An attending physician must consult and agree with another physician that the abortion is necessary for the preservation of the woman’s life or, if the abortion were not performed, that the fetus would not be able to survive.[i]

In addition, the following regulations on abortion exist in Idaho:

  • An abortion must be performed by a licensed physician.[ii]
  • An abortion must be performed in a hospital or physician’s regular office or clinic. If performed in an office or clinic, it must be properly staffed and equipped for the performance of an abortion and the physician must have arrangements made with at least one hospital within reasonable proximity of the office or clinic that is equipped with prompt emergency availability.[i]
  • The parent of a minor must provide written consent unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or if there is a medical emergency to the minor. [iii]
  • A physician may refuse to perform or assist in an abortion. [iv]
  • It is unlawful for anyone to coerce a woman into having an abortion. [v]
  • A woman seeking an abortion must give informed consent. [vi]

What is informed consent?

Informed consent is when a patient consents to a surgery after gaining a knowledge and understanding of what the surgery involves. [vii] In Idaho, an attending physician has been given informed consent by a patient when the physician receives written certification that the patient received accurate and non-biased information provided by the Health and Welfare Department or by a physician at least 24 hours prior to the procedure. This information must include the following:

  • Descriptions of abortion procedures
  • Descriptions of a developing fetus
  • Descriptions of available pregnancy, child birth, and child rearing services
  • A list of places that provide free ultrasounds
  • A statement telling the patient that she has the right to view the ultrasound and heartbeat monitor

WASHINGTON

When is abortion legal in Washington?

Abortion is legal in Washington before the age of viability of a fetus or after viability to protect the life or health of the mother.[viii]

What is the age of viability?

The age of viability of a fetus, which is typically around 24 weeks gestation[ix], is defined by Washington Legislature as when the physician of that particular case says it is likely for the fetus to survive outside of the uterus without extraordinary medical measures.[x]

In addition, the following regulations on abortion exist in Washington:

  • An abortion must be performed by a licensed physician.[viii]
  • A physician or private medical facility may refuse to perform or assist in an abortion.[xi]
  • A person may not be denied employment or professional privileges due to a refusal to participate in the facilitation of an abortion.[xi]

 

Are you pregnant and unsure of what to do next? Making a decision can be difficult. Come to Wish Medical for a free pregnancy test and confidential support. An advocate can talk with you about your options. Schedule your pregnancy test appointment HERE.

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REFERENCES 

[i] Idaho State, Legislature. Title 18, Chapter 6, Section 18-608. https://legislature.idaho.gov/statutesrules/idstat/title18/t18ch6/sect18-608/

[ii] Idaho State, Legislature. Title 18, Chapter 6, Section 18-608a

[iii] Idaho State, Legislature. Title 18, Chapter 6, Section 18-609a

[iv] Idaho State, Legislature. Title 18, Chapter 6, Section 18-612

[v] Idaho State, Legislature. Title 18, Chapter 6, Section 18-615

[vi] Idaho State, Legislature. Title 18, Chapter 6, Section 18-609

[vii] “Informed Consent.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2019.

[viii] Washington State, Legislature, Title 9, Chapter 02, Section 9.02.110

[ix] “Fetal Viability.” Medical-Dictionary.TheFreeDictionary.com. The Free Dictionary.

[x] Washington State, Legislature, Title 9, Chapter 02, Section 9.02.170

[xi] Washington State, Legislature, Title 9, Chapter 02, Section 9.02.150