An Idaho woman and her son have been charged with kidnapping after prosecutors say they took the son’s minor girlfriend out of state to get an abortion.
Court documents show Idaho police began investigating the mother and son earlier this summer after a 15-year-old girl’s mother told authorities her daughter had been sexually assaulted and later taken to Oregon to have an abortion.
With some narrow technical exceptions, abortion is banned throughout pregnancy in Republican-controlled Idaho. The procedure is legal in left-leaning Oregon, prompting many patients to cross the state border for services, a trend anti-abortion opponents have struggled to stifle ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion last year.
Idaho’s Republican-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Brad Little are seeking more ways to curb abortion as well. Recently, the state made it illegal to help minors get an abortion without their parents’ consent, legislation aimed at preventing minors who don’t have parental approval from getting abortions out of state. However, that law is being challenged in court, and prosecutors in the kidnapping case aren’t relying on it.
According to an affidavit, the mother of the girl who travelled for the abortion believed her daughter was living with her father, but told authorities she later discovered the teen was staying at her boyfriend’s house for several months in Pocatello, Idaho.
The girl told law enforcement officials she began having a consensual sexual relationship with her boyfriend when he was 17 and she was 15. The relationship continued when he turned 18, right around when the girl said she became pregnant.
According to court documents, the girl said she was “happy” when she found out she was pregnant, but her boyfriend was not — warning that he would not pay for child support and that he would end their relationship.
The boyfriend’s mother later demanded the girl not to tell her parents and threatened to “kick her out of their house” if she did.
The girl told authorities she then traveled to Bend, Oregon — about 550 miles (885 km) from Pocatello — with her boyfriend and his mom in May to get an abortion. Police later used the girl’s cellphone data to confirm that the trio traveled to Oregon around the same time.
The mother later told police she rented a car to go with her son and the girl to Oregon and said that the abortion was “mutually agreed upon” between the girl and her son. She said she she never “coerced” anyone into having an abortion.
Prosecutors have since charged the mother with second-degree kidnapping and the son with the same charge, along with rape and three counts of producing child sexually exploitative material after authorities said that the boyfriend captured sexually explicit video and photos of the girl.
The mother is also facing multiple drug charges.
Prosecutors say the kidnapping charges were brought because the mother and son intended to “keep or conceal” the girl from her parents by transporting “the child out of the state for the purpose of obtaining an abortion.”
Both the mother and son have been assigned a public defender, David Martinez, who said he was assigned the case the day before and declined to comment.