Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Otter declines to investigate Planned Parenthood, says no evidence of violations in Idaho

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says he will not launch an investigation against Planned Parenthood facilities in Idaho despite receiving a request from nearly 30 Republican state lawmakers. In an Aug. 6 letter, Otter wrote that there are no grounds for a legal investigation because there is no evidence Planned Parenthood has violated any state or federal laws in Idaho. Planned Parenthood has come under increased scrutiny after anti-abortion activists released undercover videos that raised questions about whether the national organization was profiting from the sale of fetal tissue— an accusation the group denies. Lawmakers who requested the investigation argued that the release of undercover videos is enough prompt to make sure no illegal activities are taking place in Idaho. Planned Parenthood has health clinics in Boise, Meridian and Twin Falls.

You can read the legislators’ letter here, complete with signatures over the names of all 27 GOP lawmakers, and Otter’s response letter here, in which he calls the videos “shocking and deeply troubling,” but writes, “I have been in contact with Planned Parenthood officials here in Idaho and they assured me that these practices do not occur in Idaho or within the states that make-up Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. Since there is no evidence that a crime has been committed, there are no grounds for a legal investigation. I have challenged Idaho’s Planned Parenthood officials to reassure all Idahoans that such activities have not occurred here.”

He also says he’ll review existing laws to ensure that; AP reporter Kimberlee Kruesi has a full report here.

Oddly, if you look at the signatures on the lawmakers' letter, all 27 are in handwriting identical to that of David Ripley, executive director and lobbyist for Idaho Chooses Life, who also signed the letter; Ripley added his initials after each of the lawmaker signatures. At least one of the lawmakers who signed the letter told reporter Melissa Davlin of Idaho Reports he agreed to have Ripley add his name to the letter, but there was no discussion of signatures; Davlin has more here. House Majority Leader Mike Moyle told Eye on Boise he gave Ripley the OK to sign his name. “Ah, hell, we’re all over the place this time of year,” he said. Moyle said Ripley sent him a couple of drafts of the letter. “The final one I was OK with,” he said. “I was combining wheat; it was OK with me.”

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.

Follow Betsy online: