Idaho lawmakers intervene in lawsuit against abortion ban

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Supreme Court has allowed state lawmakers to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law they passed earlier this year that would ban abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The court on Monday approved a request by Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke, Republican Senate President Pro-Tem Chuck Winder and the Legislature to take part in the case.

The law is modeled after a Texas law that is enforced through lawsuits to avoid constitutional court challenges. The law had been scheduled to take effect Friday but was temporarily blocked by the court following a lawsuit by a regional Planned Parenthood organization.

Lawmakers said that Planned Parenthood’s arguments challenging the constitutionality of the abortion law “directly implicate the Legislature’s authority.”

The law allows the father, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles of a “preborn child” to each sue an abortion provider for a minimum of $20,000 in damages within four years after the abortion. Rapists can’t file a lawsuit under the law, but a rapist’s relatives could.

The bill passed the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities. Republican Gov. Brad Little signed the bill into law but said he feared it would “in short order be proven both unconstitutional and unwise.”

READ: Health care provider sues over Idaho’s strict abortion ban

RELATED: Planned Parenthood sues to block Idaho’s new abortion ban