© 2021 Boise State Public Radio

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact us at boisestatepublicradio@boisestate.edu or call (208) 426-3663.
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
What is the single most important question about COVID-19 you think needs to be answered? Submit it for a special Idaho Matters Doctors Roundtable in English and Spanish.
Politics & Government

Idaho Lawmakers Drafting Bill To Ban Abortions

Samantha Wright/BSPR

A bill that’s still being drafted could outlaw abortion in Idaho.

The proposal from Republican Representatives Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) and John Green (R-Post Falls) states that abortion violates Idaho’s constitutional rights given to all humans, including embryos and fetuses.

The draft repeals part of state code that prevents women and doctors who receive or provide abortions from being charged with homicide and “puts the matter within existing statute for the prosecution of murder, where it clearly belongs.”

It would also compel Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to force prosecutors and other state agencies to ignore conflicting federal law, court decisions or executive orders. A spokesperson for Wasden declined to comment.

Mistie Tolman heads Planned Parenthood’s lobbying arm in Idaho. She calls the proposal “extreme” and says she’s appalled it’s being drafted at all.

“Decisions about whether to end a pregnancy obviously are deeply personal and should be left between a woman in consultation with her healthcare provider and her family,” Tolman says.

Scott and Green counter that by saying in a press release that “Abortion is, without question, the chief means of depriving unborn Idahoans of the most fundamental of all human rights, which is the right to life.”

Many other state legislatures across the country have also introduced bills to limit abortions, like Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Utah.

Tolman says it’s a trend following the 2016 presidential elections and a makeover of the Supreme Court.

“I think we’re seeing, again, emboldened legislatures trying to chip away at Roe v. Wade and hope that they’re going to win in court.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion is protected by the constitution with its Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973. But Green and Scott say Idaho has the ability to nullify federal law, meaning the decision wouldn’t apply.

They stress they aren’t trying to create a test case in federal court, should the proposal be approved by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brad Little.

Instead, they say Idaho is a sovereign state and “has the fundamental duty and right to act as a check-and-balance to the federal government any time it errs on constitutional issues.”

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

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio