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Idaho Dems Optimistic This Year

House Democratic Leader John Rusche is euphoric about what he sees as a rare chance: his party winning seats in the Legislature with an incumbent Democratic president atop the ticket. Rusche concedes President Barack Obama’s unpopularity in Idaho but says the GOP’s effort to mandate ultrasounds before an abortion might be trump. “They played special-interest social politics and forgot the people care about their personal freedom,” Rusche said. “The response in the House wasn’t anything but a response to the massive outpouring from basically women and Republican women.” Fearing a rout at the polls, House Republicans revolted last month after the Senate passed Senate Bill 1387, denying the bill a hearing. Sponsors, however, say they’ll be back in 2013, keeping the issue alive for the November election/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you see Idaho Democrats picking up seats in the 2013 Legislature as a result of the battle over pre-abortion ultrasound during the last session?

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/04/06/2065370/democratslook-to-shake-presidential.html#storylink=cpy

AM: Ultrasound Bill Dead For 2012

Kerry Uhlenkott, of Right to Life of Idaho, at podium, speaks to a crowd of 150 supporters of a bill to require an ultrasound be performed on women seeking an abortion in Idaho Monday on the steps of the Ohio Capitol in Boise. The rally was aimed at convincing lawmakers to resurrect the bill, which was sidelined last week on concerns in the Idaho House that it was a government overreach into the private lives of women and their doctors. This morning, State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher declared the bill dead for the 2012 Idaho Legislature. Story here. (AP/Statesman photo: Darin Oswald)

DP: 1990 Battle Eclipses Ultrasound Flap

Think this spring’s ultrasound battle is epic? Join me at 1990 Memory Lane, when Idaho was the epicenter of a national struggle over abortion rights. On March 30, 1990, Gov. Cecil Andrus vetoed House Bill 625, which would have been the toughest anti-abortion law in the country. The story was prominent on network news shows that night, in the days before the atomization of cable TV. For weeks, Boise was a regular dateline in The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post. The Senate debate was broadcast live on C-SPAN. “It began early, engaged national interest groups on both sides and consumed the whole session,” said former GOP Rep. Pam Ahrens, who co-chaired a two-day joint State Affairs Committee hearing that drew 1,500 people to Boise State’s Jordan Ballroom. “Compared to 1990, this year seems like a flash mob”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Anyone else recall the 1990 battle?

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/03/25/2049770/1990-battle-easily-eclipses-2012.html#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

Idaho’s Ultrasound Mandate Has Limits

As did Virginia's Legislature last month, Idaho's Legislature is wading into controversial territory with a new law that, if enacted, would require that abortion providers administer an ultrasound test and share the results with women seeking abortions before the baby is destroyed. The unproven theory behind such laws is that once a woman sees her baby or hears its heartbeat, her maternal instincts will be activated and she'll change her mind, sparing the child's life. Naturally, the left is portraying this as the highest order of extremism. If there is any evidence that such information ever changes a woman's mind, I have not seen it. Pro-life activists believe it would, but they are already predisposed to loving their children, born or unborn/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Anything left to be said on this controversial issue?

Sen. Winder Lands In ‘Doonesbury’

Idaho Sen. Chuck Winder has landed in Garry Trudeaux's "Doonesbury" Web page "Say What?" feature. Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman writes: "Winder, the sponsor of the stalled ultrasound mandate measure, Senate Bill 1387, is quoted in the comic strip's online "Say What?" feature. Winder's statement in Monday's Senate debate on the bill has made him an international object of derision. "I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, 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." I spoke with Winder, R-Boise, on Thursday, who is chagrined by all the attention and saddened that it may have contributed to the sidetracking of his bill in the House. More here.

Question: At this point, what would you do if you were Chuck Winder?

Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/03/23/idahopolitics/idaho_sen_chuck_winder_makes_doonesbury_website_friday_controver#storylink=cpy

DM: It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over

I may be in error, but the legislative response of halting the proposed House hearing on the bill, now being reported by the national press, may well be a tactical time-out rather than a strategic stop. The national press will go home. And the Idaho House of Representatives will also prepare to go home … But my call is that prior to the close of the session the House will quickly take up the matter, pass it and let the Dem's in the House and Senate bear the weight of this bill at the polls. It will indeed be a case of political theater, but more accurately: a poltical theater of war/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Do you really think legislation requiring a pre-abortion ultrasound is dead for the year?

Ultrasound Remarks Launch Firestorm

Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise reports that Chuck Winder's comments in his closing argument re: his pre-abortion ultrasound bill has launched a firestorm nationwide. He said: "In his closing debate in favor of SB 1387, Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said, “This bill does not require a trans-vaginal exam. … It leaves that up to the patient and the physician to make that determination.” He said, “Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, 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. I assume that's part of the counseling that goes on.” More here.


Ultrasound Vote Could Haunt Keough

Senate Bill 1387, the Idaho ultrasound bill, passed 23-12. Likely result: Passage in the House by a larger margin a few days from now, and signature by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter some days after that. And this likely will be the piece of legislation for which this session is most remembered. Don’t be surprised if a number of legislative campaigns center around it. Of the debates, the strongest may have been that of Senator Shawn Keough (pictured), R-Sandpoint, who is apt to be in the political whirlwind surrounding this – “my primary opponent has made it her number one issue”/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.

Question: Would you vote against an exceptional incumbent like Shawn Keough, if she voted contrary to your wishes on a pet issue of yours?

May Is On The Way

Idaho's political round
Is clearly closed-primary bound.
When hot-button issues
Mean get out the tissues
It's lawmaking in ultrasound.

Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise (More here) (AP photo: Vote tally board on pre-abortion ultrasound issue in Virginia on Feb. 28)

A Prolife Woman & The Ultrasound Bill

HucksOnline has received the following op-ed column from Linda Cook of Rathdrum: "I attended a Town Hall meeting in Hayden on March 17th and listened to Phil Hart, Steve Vick and Vito Barbieri address the crowd and take questions. One man inquired about the legislation requiring women considering an abortion, to have a transvaginal ultrasound first. The audience member’s main concern was that it was too intrusive on the part of government and Steve Vick’s three-word response was chilling. “It’s not vaginal.” The room was completely silent and so Senator Vick repeated himself. Still there was silence so Phil Hart jumped in and messaged the issue differently, which won applause from nearly every one of the 40 or so attendees. Two things were clear, this was a pro-life crowd and Steve Vick needs an emergency truckload of media consultants directed his way as soon as possible. Hearing a state senator speak with such blunt and quiet indifference implied a shallow understanding of the issue. Vito Barbieri’s assertion that women “must listen to that beating heart” seemed puritanical and punitive rather than truly informational. I’m saying this as a woman who aborted her first child. More here.

  • Full disclosure: Linda Cook is chairwoman of Mike Jorgenson's state Senate campaign against Vick.