Idaho

Opponents Can’t Block Abortion Bills

Opponents of three abortion bills said Wednesday they can’t stop the bills in a final House vote scheduled today, but they hope the Senate will block the measures.

“These bills won’t help Idaho families. They will instead interfere, complicate, obstruct, delay and dictate,” a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers said in a written statement.

“Our efforts would be better spent on reducing the need for abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies through family planning, responsible sex education and affordable and available contraception,” the coalition said at a news conference.

But Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, said she expected only 15 to 20 votes in the 70-member House against the bills. “I think all three will pass and I hope all three will not have a hearing in the Senate,” Jaquet said.

Representatives of the Idaho Family Forum, which is behind the most comprehensive of the abortion bills, defended them as necessary to protect Idaho women and children.

“Women and families need these bills,” said Julie Lynde, Family Forum volunteer. “Under current laws, women could be prosecuted for an illegal abortion.”

Besides the Idaho Family Forum bill, the House has two other abortion measures. Opponents argued again Wednesday that both are clearly unconstitutional and will only waste state resources in needless legal battles.

Rep. Dan Mader, R-Genesee, has a bill to ban the medical procedure known as partial-birth abortion, prepared by Right to Life of Idaho, Inc.

Eight states currently enforce laws that supporters contend only outlaw so-called partial-birth abortion. But courts have blocked enforcement or declared the laws illegal in 11 other states.

The third bill, sponsored by House Speaker Michael Simpson and the Idaho Christian Coalition, adds abortion involving minors to medical procedures needing parental approval.



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