The media is treating the arrest of an Idaho mother and son on abduction charges for allegedly transporting a pregnant 15-year-old carrying the baby of the son across state lines for an abortion as a litmus test for the state’s trafficking statute.
Kadyn Leo Swainston, 18, is accused of felony counts of second-degree kidnapping, rape, and producing underage illegal photos, while his mother, Rachael Swainston, is charged with felony counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, possessing controlled substances (fentanyl and psychedelic mushrooms), second-degree kidnapping, and harboring a wanted felon.
The mother of the victim reportedly said her daughter had been raped and taken to Bend, Oregon, for an abortion without her knowledge or consent in June, prompting police to launch an investigation.
The girl told police in August that she and Swainston began having a physical relationship when he was 17 and continued them after he turned 18, and that she was “glad” to be pregnant at first, but that her boyfriend then insisted she have an abortion. After the police validated the claims through phone records and the abortion paperwork, he admitted to fathering her child.
The maximum sentence for rape is life in prison, and Kadyn Swainston could spend the next 115 years in prison and pay a fine of up to $200,000. His mother is looking at 44 years in jail and a $130,000 fine for her other charges and life for meth.
An adult who “either procures an abortion… or obtains an abortion-inducing drug” with the intent to conceal the abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor faces up to five years in prison, per a law signed in April by Idaho’s Republican governor, Brad Little.
Pro-lifers consider their case as an example of why the law is required and maybe as a test case for the efficacy of such prosecutions, but the Swainstons are not being charged explicitly with violating the new law because it is currently held up in litigation.
Since the Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs verdict, which reversed Roe v. Wade and let states explicitly ban abortion for the first time in half a century, fourteen states have banned all or most abortions. These restrictions, along with hundreds of other pro-life policies, could prevent as many as 200,000 abortions annually.
To counteract this, abortion supporters work to ensure that women can continue to have access to abortions by, among other things, making abortion pills widely available, protecting and subsidizing cross-state abortion travel, attempting to enshrine abortion “rights” in state constitutions rather than the U.S. Constitution, building new abortion facilities near the borders of states that are both pro-life and pro-abortion and turning liberal states into “sanctuaries” for those who wish to evade or violate abortion restrictions.