New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez argues Idaho’s abortion “travel ban” is illegal

OLYMPIA — Today, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general to file legal arguments in a lawsuit challenging Idaho’s restrictive law making it a crime for adults to help minors travel out-of-state for abortion care.

The challenge to Idaho’s so-called abortion “travel ban” was filed in U.S. District Court in Idaho earlier this month by an attorney working with sexual assault victims, the Northwest Abortion Access Fund and the Indigenous Idaho Alliance. The amicus brief urges the court to block Idaho’s law immediately.

“As many states across the country have implemented severe restrictions on accessing healthcare services, New Mexico has remained a safe haven for reproductive rights, for our citizens and for all those seeking access to essential and safe reproductive healthcare,” said AG Torrez. “I will continue to safeguard a woman’s bodily autonomy and join with others that protect these rights across the country.”

In today’s amicus brief, led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the attorneys general argue that Idaho’s law not only endangers minors from Idaho, it also punishes other states’ medical providers and residents for helping them access lawful abortion care outside of Idaho’s borders.

“This cannot be reconciled with Supreme Court precedent, under which States cannot prevent their residents from accessing abortion care in other states where it is legal — much less from even accessing information about such lawful care,” the brief asserts.

Further, the attorneys general argue, Idaho should not be allowed to criminalize legal conduct in other states.

Idaho’s abortion laws, among the most restrictive in the country, have resulted in significant increases in Idaho patients coming to other states for care. For example, in New Mexico there were more than 11,000 reported abortions statewide last year compared with nearly 4,900 abortions reported in 2021. So far this year, there have been almost 5,300 abortions performed in New Mexico.

Other states bordering Idaho have seen similar increases in Idaho patients. Idaho’s law also harms the ability of states like Washington to provide timely medical care. In a letter to Idaho’s governor in April, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee warned that Idaho’s law would likely result in an “increased mortality rate of Idahoan women and girls.”

The brief, led by Washington, is also joined by Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C.

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