On April 6, 2023, the Idaho Legislature adjourned sine die. The Idaho Legislature passed many bills impacting the healthcare industry, including laws controlling abortion, telehealth, and more. Below is a summary of some bills directly impacting the healthcare industry.
Unsurprisingly, the Idaho Legislature debated bills governing abortion in the State of Idaho. Some of the abortion bills passed during this legislative session include:
- House Bill 242: This bill restricts adults from participating in “abortion trafficking,” which is (1) procuring an abortion for an unemancipated minor or (2) recruiting, harboring, or transporting the minor within the state of Idaho to obtain an abortion-inducing drug for the pregnant minor to obtain an abortion. The Idaho Legislature inserted an affirmative defense that allows the defendant to claim that the parent or guardian of the pregnant minor consented to the trafficking of the minor. Through this bill, the state attorney general is granted sole discretion to prosecute a person for facilitating abortion trafficking. Punishment will be imprisonment in state prison for 2-5 years. This bill also amends Idaho Code § 18-8807, which addresses civil causes of action against abortion providers. Civil action may not be brought about by a person who impregnated the woman seeking an abortion through rape, sexual assault, incest, or other criminal conduct. The bill will go into effect 30 days after its passage and approval.
- House Bill 374: This bill attempts to resolve issues with Idaho laws governing abortions. Namely, this bill amends Idaho Code § 18-604 by (1) eliminating the trigger provision and affirmative defense language; and (2) redefining abortion to exclude (i) the removal of a dead unborn child; (ii) the removal of an ectopic or molar pregnancy; or (iii) the treatment of a woman who is no longer pregnant. This bill also attempts to clarify language regarding the reporting standard for cases of pregnancy by rape and incest.
- Joint Memorial No. 2: This Joint Memorial requests the United States Congress to take action and limit the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts from hearing cases that relate to state legislative authority to pass laws regarding abortion. This Joint Memorial is in reaction to the Dobbs Decision which overturned Roe v. Wade and gave state’s the power to decide their stance on the issue of abortion.
In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, laws governing telehealth became less restrictive. Now post-pandemic, the Idaho Legislature has chosen to adopt some of the less restrictive measures seen during the pandemic, including:
- House Bill 61: This bill amends the Idaho Telehealth Access Act to allow out-of-state mental and behavioral health providers to register with the state to provide telehealth services to Idaho residents and persons located in Idaho so long as the out-of-state provider complies with applicable Idaho laws, rules, and regulations. Theoretically, this bill will allow Idaho citizens in rural and underserved locations to gain greater access to healthcare through virtual care.
- House Bill 162: This bill updates the Idaho Telehealth Access Care Act (Idaho Code § 54-5701) by changing the word “telehealth” to “virtual care” and clarifying the requirements for giving virtual care. Out-of-state providers may be able to provide care to Idaho citizens even when the provider is not physically located where the resident resides.
When presented with the risks and benefits of certain care, a patient then gives informed consent to proceed with the care or refusal of consent to deny care. The Idaho Legislature has clarified terminology and providers should do in specific situations involving informed consent.
House Bill 223: This bill amends portions of the Medical Consent and Natural Death Act by updating medical terminology. Specifically, this bill defines “health care services,” “licensed independent practitioner,” “Advance care planning document,” and other terms. Ultimately, the bill attempts to provide clarity to the public and providers dealing with informed consent, advanced care plans, living wills, and durable power for healthcare.
As questions around healthcare in relation to gender identity continue, the Idaho Legislature has taken a stance on the kind of care healthcare providers may give to minors seeking gender-affirming care.
House Bill 71: This bill is known as the Vulnerable Child Protective Act. It amends Idaho Code § 18-1506B to make it a felony for healthcare providers to (1) prescribe puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones as well as (2) perform sex reassignment surgeries for children under the age of 18. Any healthcare provider who violates this law is subject to a $5,000 fine.
This blog post is designed to provide general information on pertinent legal topics. The statements made are provided for educational purposes only. This blog does not provide legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Smith + Malek PLLC. If you want to create an attorney-client relationship and have specific questions regarding the application of the law to your own circumstances, we encourage you to contact our office.