Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador (R) has rescinded a legal opinion barring referrals for out-of-state abortions, CNN reported Friday.
Labrador reportedly said in a letter to state Rep. Brent Crane (R) that the opinion was “mischaracterized as law enforcement guidance sent publicly to local prosecutors and others.”
“It was not a guidance document, nor was it ever released by the Office of the Attorney General,” he said. “Accordingly, I hereby withdraw it.”
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union announced legal challenges against Labrador on Wednesday over its interpretation of the state’s abortion ban to prevent medical providers from referring patients for out-of-state abortion services.
Labrador’s initial letter said Idaho’s near-total ban on abortion “prohibits an Idaho medical provider from referring a woman across state lines for abortion services or prescribing abortion pills for the woman to pick up.” across state lines.”
Idaho’s abortion ban prohibits the procedure except in cases of rape, incest, or risk to the life of the mother.
CNN reported that US District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said the removal of the opinion indicates that the urgency behind a Planned Parenthood lawsuit may have been “diminished somewhat or completely.”
A Labrador attorney argued that the new letter essentially means the first letter “would never have been written,” but Planned Parenthood attorneys said they were not immediately prepared to withdraw their motion for a temporary restraining order on the original opinion of Labrador.
They argued that it violates parts of the Constitution, including the First Amendment free speech.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed into law a bill Wednesday to criminalize adults who help a minor obtain an abortion or abortion pills out of state without parental consent.
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