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Eye On Boise

‘Conscience’ bill prompts much debate

David Ripley, lobbyist for "Idaho Chooses Life," answers questions from the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday morning about SB 1353, the "conscience" bill protecting health care providers who refuse to provide treatments or medications related to abortion, emergency contraception or end-of-life care. Behind him is Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, the bill's lead legislative sponsor. (Betsy Russell)
David Ripley, lobbyist for "Idaho Chooses Life," answers questions from the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday morning about SB 1353, the "conscience" bill protecting health care providers who refuse to provide treatments or medications related to abortion, emergency contraception or end-of-life care. Behind him is Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, the bill's lead legislative sponsor. (Betsy Russell)

The hearing on SB 1353, the abortion and emergency contraception "conscience" bill, has been stretching on for nearly two hours already this morning in the Senate State Affairs Committee. So far, among the many testifying on the bill have been the Catholic diocese of Idaho, in favor of the bill; the Idaho Women's Network, against it; Right to Life of Idaho, in favor; and the ACLU of Idaho, against. Here, anti-abortion activist David Ripley, lobbyist for "Idaho Chooses Life," answers questions about the bill from members of the Senate committee. Christ Troupis, attorney for the group, also answered numerous questions about the bill. Troupis noted that the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association is opposing the bill, saying it may interfere with patient malpractice lawsuits.  Troupis said he disagrees with that. The bill would allow any licensed health care provider to refuse to provide any treatment related to abortion, emergency contraception or end-of-life care if it violates their conscience, without losing their job.

Among the questions from the committee members were how that affects a business. Troupis said the business could fire the employee if the conscience exemption places the business at a competitive disadvantage.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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