Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, introduced legislation this morning designed to require parental consent for minors’ abortions. Idaho already has passed such legislation three other times, only to have it overturned in court each time – with the state being ordered to pay court costs and attorney fees. The 2005 version still is on appeal at the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Deputy Idaho Attorney General Bill von Tagen, asked by the Senate State Affairs Committee whether the newest bill is likely unconstitutional as well, said, “We have the highest degree of confidence in this legislation that we feel we can have,” though he noted that there are no guarantees.
Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, said, “We have spent an enormous amount of money in this area of law trying to defend unconstitutional legislation.” He voted to introduce the bill – the committee’s vote was unanimous – but said his vote was only “in order to have a full hearing on the bill and to get all the information we’re lacking here today.”
Fulcher said, “Senators, I can promise you nothing in terms of what may happen to this in terms of court action.” But, he said, “Today we have no active parental consent law in the state of Idaho – personally I believe we should.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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