Catholic Church Can’t Intervene In Idaho Abortion Lawsuit: State Supreme Court

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by the Roman Catholic Church in Idaho to intervene in a lawsuit over a new Idaho law banning nearly all abortions.

The court did not explain why the church was excluded after the Diocese of Boise on Monday asked to be allowed to join the lawsuit in support of the ban.

Idaho last month became the first state to enact legislation modeled after a Texas statute banning abortions after about six weeks. The Idaho law would allow the potential fathers, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles of embryos or fetuses to sue abortion providers for at least $20,000 in damages within four years after the abortions. Rapists can’t file a lawsuit under the law, but rapists’ relatives have permission to do so.

Planned Parenthood of Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana and Kentucky sued over the law, calling it unconstitutional and the Idaho Supreme Court last week blocked the abortion ban from taking effect while the lawsuit is underway.

The Diocese of Boise on Wednesday didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment about the high court’s decision.

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

The bishop of the Diocese, Bishop Peter Christensen, wrote in a legal filing that the church helped convince state lawmakers to approve the abortion ban.

The lawsuit is one of many legal fights going on nationwide over access to abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority signaled willingness in a Mississippi case to severely erode or even strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal nationwide until a baby can survive outside the womb. Numerous states with Republican majorities are poised to follow the strictest interpretation of the ruling.

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