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Idaho House panel OKs abortion ban bill

The Idaho State Flag hanging inside the Statehouse Rotunda.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers’ latest move to restrict access to abortion is headed to the House floor.

Abortions performed after about six weeks would be illegal under the bill. Family members of a fetus aborted after that timeframe would be able to sue the doctor who performed the procedure.

It would only take effect if a similar law, like Texas’s, were found to be constitutional by a federal appeals court.

Linda Thomas works for Stanton Healthcare, an anti-abortion organization that helps women through their pregnancies.

“Abortion is wrong because it violently ends the life of a vulnerable human on purpose, for profit,” Thomas said.

Supporters said it will save lives but several people testified against the bill saying it doesn’t go far enough.

“This bill is a bastardization of what it means to protect your pre-born neighbors,” said Sofia Grigg.

Instead, Grigg said Idaho should ban abortion entirely.

That’s a possibility under a separate trigger law on the books. Passed in 2020, that law would make performing an abortion a felony except to save a mother's life or in cases of rape or incest.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently weighing the constitutionality of a law in Mississippi that would ban abortions after 15 weeks. During oral arguments, multiple news outlets reported justices seemed open to peeling back some precedents set in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade.

For Rep. Chris Mathias (D-Boise), he said he’s worried about an increasing trend in people imposing their deeply-held religious beliefs on everyone in Idaho – including those who show up armed to intimidate lawmakers.

“This is my biggest concern: is we’re marching towards a life in Idaho towards this Christian Taliban kind of rule,” Mathias said.

House lawmakers could take up the bill as early as Thursday.

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

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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