POCATELLO, Idaho (LifeSiteNews) – A mother and son in Idaho are being charged with kidnapping for taking the son’s 15-year-old statutory rape victim out of state for an abortion, in what is being considered in the media a test case for the state’s abortion trafficking law.
The Rexburg Standard Journal reports that 18-year-old Kadyn Leo Swainston is charged with felony counts of rape, second-degree kidnapping, and producing child sexually exploitative material; while his mother Rachael Swainston is charged with felony counts of second-degree kidnapping, trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of controlled substances (fentanyl and psychedelic mushrooms), and harboring a wanted felon.
Police say that in June they began investigating based on a report from the victim’s mother that her daughter had been raped, then taken to Bend, Oregon for an abortion without her permission.
In August, the girl told police she began a consensual sexual relationship with Swainston when he was 17 that continued once he became a legal adult, and while she was initially “happy” to be pregnant, the boyfriend demanded she abort their child. After the police corroborated the allegations through phone records and the abortion paperwork, he admitted to having sex with the 15-year-old as an adult.
Kadyn Swainston faces up to life in prison for rape and up to 115 years and a $200,000 for the other charges. His mother faces up to life in prison for meth and up to 44 years and a $130,000 fine for her other charges.
In April, Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little signed a law establishing the “crime of abortion trafficking,” under which any “adult who, with the intent to conceal an abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor, either procures an abortion… or obtains an abortion-inducing drug” will face up to five years in prison.
The Swainstons are not being charged specifically with violating the new law, as it is currently held up in litigation, but their case is seen by pro-lifers as an example of why the law is needed and potentially as a test case for the viability of such prosecutions.
“It’s not surprising that the people at the center of this case seem to be having a really difficult time—we know that the most marginalized among us are much more likely to be charged or targeted by law enforcement in abortion-related cases (and all others),” lamented pro-abortion activist Jessica Valenti. “We also know that prosecutors seeking to test out laws like this are likely to go after people who won’t garner much sympathy from the public. The hope is that people will be a little less outraged over an objectively outrageous law.”
Fourteen states currently ban all or most abortions, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and allows states to directly ban abortion for the first time in half a century. These direct bans and hundreds of other pro-life laws have been estimated to prevent 200,000 abortions per year, LifeSite has previously reported.
In response, abortion allies pursue a variety of tactics to preserve abortion “access,” such as easy access to abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, attempting to enshrine “rights” to the practice in state constitutions rather than the U.S. Constitution, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states “sanctuaries” for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors.
President Joe Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws. The 2024 elections will determine whether Democrats retain the White House and keep or gain enough seats in Congress to make that happen.