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Saturday, April 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Senate passes free-ultrasound bill on party-line vote, sends it to governor

Idaho Capitol dome (Betsy Z. Russell)
Idaho Capitol dome (Betsy Z. Russell)

After much debate, the Idaho Senate has voted 28-7 in favor of HB 516, the bill to require women seeking abortions to be provided with a state-compiled list of providers who will give them free ultrasounds, and told they have a right to a free ultrasound and to hear a fetal heart monitor. Backers of the bill said the state’s seven crisis pregnancy centers, which provide free ultrasounds and oppose abortion, 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.”

Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, said, “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.” Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, said, “I don’t think government is the place to look for religious and moral guidance.” The Senate’s seven Democrats cast the only votes against the bill, which already has passed the House and now goes to Gov. Butch Otter.

Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, the bill’s lead sponsor, said, “This legislation does not limit choice, it just enhances choice. The availability to have a free ultrasound will enhance her right to make a true informed decision.”

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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