A teenager and his mother from Idaho are now facing multiple felony charges, including kidnapping, for reportedly assisting a 15-year-old girl to obtain an abortion without her parents’ consent. The 18-year-old boy and his mother are accused of being involved in the illegal act, which has resulted in an ongoing legal battle. The incident has left many in shock and raised concerns about the safety of minors seeking abortions without parental consent.
According to records viewed by the Idaho State Journal, Kadyn Swainston, 18, and Rachael Swainston, 42, from Pocatello, Idaho were taken into custody in late October after a months-long investigation into the rape of a 15-year-old girl who was allegedly transported across state lines to receive an abortion.
Ms. Swainston, the mother of the accused, has also been charged with second-degree kidnapping and several other felonies.
Months after Idaho implemented a new law that forbids adults from assisting minors in obtaining an abortion without parental consent, also known as “abortion trafficking,” a case and charges have arisen.
The charges against Mr. Swainston and his mother do not fall under the state’s controversial “abortion trafficking” law, which is currently facing legal challenges. However, the language used in the kidnapping charges closely resembles that of the said law.
The case at hand is rather complex and raises concerns regarding the real-life impact of Idaho’s strict anti-abortion laws on the general public.
During an interview at a local child advocacy center in August, the girl stated that her relationship with Mr. Swainston was consensual and they had engaged in sexual activities when he was 17 years old. However, the relationship continued after he turned 18.
As per the court records reviewed by The Guardian, the Swainstons had been housing the teenage girl, despite the fact that she was supposed to be residing with her father.
According to The Idaho State Journal, Mr. Swainston gave similar statements to the police during a separate interview.
According to investigators, the young woman revealed that she found out she was pregnant shortly after Mr. Swainston’s 18th birthday and was initially thrilled with the news. However, she alleged that Mr. Swainston demanded that she have an abortion, threatening to withhold child support and end their relationship if she did not comply.
According to the report, Mr. Swainston and his mother took the teenage girl to Bend, Oregon, to have an abortion, without the mother’s consent.
According to the police report, the young woman stated that Ms. Swainston had rented a car and accompanied both her and Mr. Swainston to an abortion clinic in May for the procedure.
During the search of Mr Swainston and his mother’s residence, authorities reportedly uncovered more than 40 grams of methamphetamine, as well as fentanyl and psychedelic mushrooms in the possession of Ms Swainston. Additionally, they discovered a man who was wanted for arrest had been residing in a shed on the property.
Ms. Swainston has been accused of possessing controlled substances, drug trafficking, and aiding in the concealment or harboring of a felon. She is facing two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of drug trafficking, and one count of accessory to willfully withhold, conceal or harbour a felon.
On 7 November, both the mother and son are scheduled to make an appearance at the preliminary trial hearings.
The accusations in this case may not be connected to Idaho’s “abortion trafficking” law, but they have brought more focus to the legislation because of the severity of the claims.
Idaho made history in May by being the first state in the United States to implement a law that is designed to discourage minors from seeking abortions or getting abortion medication from other states.
Around a year after Roe v Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, a new law was passed which led to the implementation of anti-abortion laws in the state. These laws prohibited abortions in almost all cases, except for rape or incest, as long as there is an associated police report for the exceptions.
In Idaho, the attorney general has complete authority to file charges against an adult if a county prosecutor decides not to do so. This power is granted by the law and allows the attorney general to take necessary legal action in cases where justice needs to be served.
Advocacy groups, including the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, Indigenous Idaho Alliance, and individual plaintiff Lourdes Matsumoto, have contested the “abortion trafficking” law, asserting that it encroaches on an individual’s right to interstate travel and violates the First Amendment.
The ongoing dispute regarding Idaho’s law is currently being resolved in the district court.