Federal judge weighs Idaho's doctors-only abortion rules

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge says his decision on whether Idaho's laws banning some health care providers from performing abortions is legal will likely hinge on the tension between two potentially conflicting U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest and Hawaiian Islands filed the lawsuit against Idaho state officials in December, contending that a nearly two-decade-old state law that states only licensed physicians can perform abortions makes access to the procedure too difficult for rural and low-income women. Planned Parenthood's attorneys say a 2016 Supreme Court case shows that states can only make such rules if they help, not hurt, women's health.

But attorneys for the state want the judge to throw out the lawsuit, saying another Supreme Court ruling made 21 years ago shows that states have a Constitutional right to limit abortion services to only licensed physicians.

Winmill said Thursday he'd consider the arguments and the previous case law and issue a written ruling in the future.

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