SB 1082a, which requires parental consent for minors’ abortions, passed the House this morning on a 53-14 vote, after much debate. The bill previously passed the Senate and now goes to the governor’s desk. “This is a very, very important decision in a young person’s life,” Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, the bill’s lead sponsor, told the House. “Parental consent is a very important part of what we do in a lot of arenas, not just in this one.”
Rep. Branden Durst, D-Boise, said, “I’m in favor of this legislation, but I’d like to point out something I think is problematic in this process. … We need to get them education, we need to get them child care … so that they feel like their decision to keep their baby is one that they’re not going to regret.”
Rep. Sue Chew, D-Boise, said the measure would require a runaway to go back to her parents for consent. “Some families barely function,” she said. Added Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, “Unfortunately this law is not going to reduce the number of abusive families, but it can harm young girls by delaying access to appropriate medical care.”
Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, said, “We’re dealing with a minor here that, frankly, by the fact that they’re pregnant, has demonstrated some lack of common sense.” Rep. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, responded to that. “I would like to remind the body that there are a great number of things that contribute to teen pregnancy, and they are not all the fault of girls. … It takes both the boy and the girl to make a teen pregnancy.”
Immediately after her comments, another lawmaker introduced a fifth-grade class that was visiting the capitol and watching from the gallery.
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, said, “I believe the children should be able to get to their parents, talk to their parents, and over the years we’ve moved away from that perspective. I think this would help maybe bring it back in that direction.”
Idaho has passed parental consent bills several times previously only to see them overturned in court. Loertscher said this year’s bill has exceptions for victims of rape and incest and for medical emergencies, and is patterned after an Arizona law that’s stood up in court.