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Governor Comments On Abortion Bill

Gov. Phil Batt’s statement on the partial-birth abortion ban signed into law Monday:

“This bill came before the Legislature partly as a result of a prospective political campaign, and because of advocate groups hoping to strengthen their cause and their membership.

I do not believe the bill will have any impact on the number of abortions in Idaho.

It is apparent that nearly all Idahoans, whether they fit into the labels “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” dislike abortions. This bill reflects that negative attitude toward the procedure.

The loudest voices in this debate have come mainly from men. This is not particularly instructive, as males will never carry a fetus.

HB 576, the measure banning “partial birth” abortions, addresses a particularly ghastly form of abortion. However, most late-term abortions involve ending the life of a fetus by some repulsive means. Idaho already prohibits aborting a viable fetus except in extreme mitigating circumstances. According to most testimony the “partial birth” procedure has never been used in Idaho since the U.S. Supreme Court set out the rules. I see no particular harm in this provision except that it may result in a losing Constitutional challenge.

I reiterate that this bill is not likely to change the rate of abortion. I thought about allowing it to become law without my signature. But that would be a poor recognition of the conscientious discussion which the Legislature engaged in before presenting the bill.

Therefore, I will sign it in the hope that this divisive and unproductive debate will not permeate future sessions.

Idaho has one of the lowest abortion rates in the nation. This is something all of us, whether socalled “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” can be grateful for. Nevertheless, abortion has been declared legal by our U.S. Supreme Court and that should be the venue for possible change in the national policy - not the Idaho Legislature.”


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