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Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands v. Wasden (2018)

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands in a partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho (ACLU) and the law firm Ferguson Durham filed a lawsuit challenging HB 638, which requires health-care providers to file a report with the state regarding any person under their care who reports a complication, requires medical treatment or suffers death that the provider believes may be the result of an abortion. The law defines “complication” to mean “an abnormal or a deviant process or event arising from the performance or completion of an abortion,” and includes at least 37 possible complications that may need to be reported.

The law further requires identifying information including age, race, county of residence, and the number of previous pregnancies—including the number of live births and previous abortions—to be submitted in the complication report.

Plaintiffs allege the law violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment since the broad definition of the term “complications” is excessively vague and fails to provide any meaningful guidance to abortion providers on how to comply. Furthermore, the complaint notes that some potential medical complications listed in the statute—including an “inability, refusal or unwillingness to have a follow-up visit”—are not actual medical conditions.

Plaintiffs allege the law violates the right to equal protection and due process of the 14th Amendment since the law singles out abortion while ignoring all other medical procedures, which the plaintiffs claim is “based on animus toward the Plaintiff and its providers.” Plaintiffs argue there are no other laws in the state that impose comparable reporting requirements on medical practitioners and health-care facilities as HB 638, even though serious complications from abortions are rare and other medical procedures have a much greater chance for potential complications to occur. They also argue that the law puts providers at risk and jeopardizes patient privacy.


On October 22, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge David C. Nye denied Planned Parenthood’s motion for preliminary injunction. Planned Parenthood has appealed.