An Idaho woman and her son have been charged with kidnapping after prosecutors said they took the son's minor girlfriend out of state to have an abortion.
Court documents show Idaho police began investigating the mother and son earlier this summer after the mother of a 15-year-old girl told authorities her daughter had been sexually assaulted and then taken to Oregon for abort.
With some technical exceptions, abortion is prohibited during pregnancy in Republican-controlled Idaho. The procedure is legal in left-leaning Oregon, which has led many patients to cross the state border for services, a trend that abortion opponents have struggled to quell since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion last year.
The Republican-controlled Idaho Legislature and Republican Gov. Brad Little are also looking for more ways to curb abortion. The state recently made it illegal to help minors get abortions without their parents' consent, legislation intended to prevent minors who don't have their parents' approval from getting abortions out of state. However, that law is being challenged in court and prosecutors in the kidnapping case are not relying on it.
According to an affidavit, the mother of the girl who traveled 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 officers that 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, just 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 child support and would end their relationship.
Later, the boyfriend's mother demanded that the girl not tell her parents and threatened to “throw her out of her house” if she did.
The girl told authorities she then traveled to Bend, Oregon, about 550 miles (885 kilometers) from Pocatello, with her boyfriend and mother in May to have an abortion. Police later used data from the girl's cell phone to confirm that the trio traveled to Oregon around the same time.
The mother later told police she rented a car to take her son and the girl to Oregon and said the abortion was “mutually agreed upon” between the girl and her son. She said she never “forced” anyone to have 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 sexual exploitation material after authorities said the boyfriend captured videos and photographs sexually explicit from the girl.
The mother also faces multiple drug charges.
Prosecutors say the kidnapping charges were filed because the mother and son intended to "keep or hide" the girl from her parents by transporting "the girl out of state for the purpose of obtaining an abortion."
Both mother and son have been assigned a public defender, David Martinez, who said he had been assigned the case the day before and declined to comment.