House Majority Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude, R-Meridian, said freshman Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, made a poor comparison when he linked prostitution to abortion, saying both are “a woman’s choice.” Said Vander Woude, "Rarely when a woman becomes a prostitute, is it because of a choice. The example, in my opinion, was a very poor choice."
This incident marks the second time inside of a year in which an Idaho lawmaker has gained attention from comments he's made about abortion. Sen. Chuck Winder of Boise, the Senate assistant majority leader, made comments during the 2012 session in debate over a bill to require a woman to get an ultrasound before an abortion. "I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage, or was it truly caused by a rape," Winder told the Senate last March.
Winder later said he was misunderstood and never meant to cast doubt on the truthfulness of a woman's claim of rape.
Meanwhile, ACLU Executive Director Monica Hopkins said she was glad Mendive was among 15 or 20 state lawmakers who attended the ACLU’s breakfast event Wednesday morning where he made the comment; he was the first one there. The presentation covered an overview of the group, and then focused mostly on criminal justice reform. “The interesting thing about the ACLU is you may not agree with us on one issue, but a lot of times we can find common ground on other issues,” she said. “I actually commend him for coming to the breakfast and learning a little more about us.” You can read our full story here at spokesman.com.