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Idaho Senate approves Texas-style abortion ban

Abortion March for Life
Susan Walsh
People attend the March for Life rally on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. The March for Life, for decades an annual protest against abortion, arrives this year as the Supreme Court has indicated it will allow states to impose tighter restrictions on abortion with a ruling in the coming months.

A Texas-style abortion ban is one step closer to becoming law in Idaho as state senators signed off on the proposal Thursday.

The bill would make most abortions illegal after about six weeks. That’s when a fetal heartbeat can be detected by using a vaginal probe.

If a doctor performs an abortion after that timeframe, they could be sued by the fetus’s immediate family members.

“It is human nature to protect those who cannot speak for themselves. Our unborn babies deserve more,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Patti Anne Lodge (R-Huston).

Sen. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) used to help victims of abuse as director of Boise State’s Women’s Center. One woman asked for help to flee from her marriage.

“Why did she choose to escape at that moment? Because she overheard her husband and mother-in-law planning her kidnapping and rape because she didn’t want to have kids,” Wintrow said.

Under the bill, that woman’s mother-in-law would still have legal standing to sue. Wintrow said it’s also disingenuous to call activity at six weeks a heartbeat when the fetus is the size of a pea.

Sen. Christy Zito (R-Hammett) took offense to that.

“It grieves my soul greatly when I hear God’s greatest creation, which is his children, referred to as a clump of cells,” Zito said.

The proposal wouldn’t go into effect until a federal appeals court rules a similar law to be constitutional. The bill now goes to the Idaho House.

Challenges to Texas’s law are still in process. Under that statute, anyone who helps a woman get an abortion, like an Uber driver, could be liable.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to halt its implementation as appeals are ongoing.

The nation’s highest court is currently reviewing the constitutionality of a law in Mississippi that bans abortions after 15 weeks. A ruling is expected this summer.

Depending on that outcome, a law in Idaho could be triggered, which would completely ban all abortions in the state.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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