BOISE – After much debate, the Idaho Senate on Thursday approved legislation to require women seeking abortions to be provided with a state-compiled list of providers who will give them free ultrasounds.
The bill already had passed the House; it now goes to Gov. Butch Otter.
Backers of the measure, approved on a 28-7 party-line vote, said the seven crisis pregnancy centers in the state providing free ultrasounds oppose abortion and provide quality care.
“I believe that the women who are in need of this care are at a very challenging time in their lives,” said Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens. “They deserve as much information as is available, and they also deserve high-quality care that is delivered with compassion and understanding. I believe this legislation provides for that, and I encourage your support.”
The Senate’s seven Democrats cast the only votes against the bill.
“I don’t think government is the place to look for religious and moral guidance,” said Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise.
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, argued that the legislation does nothing to limit choice.
“The availability to have a free ultrasound will enhance her right to make a true informed decision,” said Nuxoll, the bill’s lead sponsor.
Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, disagreed.
“This legislation represents the latest in a long litany of bills crafted to get between a woman and her right to make private medical decisions with her family and her physician,” Buckner-Webb said.
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