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Idaho lawmaker comment seen as threat to Planned Parenthood

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 24, 2020

Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri talks with reporters in 2012 at the Capitol building in Boise. (Matt Cilley / AP)
Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri talks with reporters in 2012 at the Capitol building in Boise. (Matt Cilley / AP)
Associated Press

BOISE – A state lawmaker from Kootenai County is facing criticism for comments considered threatening by abortion rights advocates.

Rep. Vito Barbieri told a town hall meeting Saturday in Hayden that he did not know why reproductive health care organization Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. “hasn’t been nuked off” its Boise offices, the Idaho Statesman reports.

Planned Parenthood has three locations in Idaho, including the one in Boise.

Barbieri made the comments when was among the panelists at an event in Hayden organized by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.

Video footage shows a moderator asking Barbieri and another panelist, Republican state Rep. Ron Mendive, whether they prioritize banning all abortion or “compromising with other so-called pro-life bills.”

Barbieri said there is “a schism now in the pro-life movement” in the Idaho Legislature. Some legislators believe a complete ban on abortion is necessary, but it is impossible to get those proposals through the Legislature, Barbieri said.

“There are problems with charging the mother, there are problems with charging the doctor,” Barbieri said. “Certainly, it’s murder.”

Barbieri added: “I don’t know why Planned Parenthood hasn’t been nuked off of State Street.”

Mistie Tolman, Idaho state director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, in a statement called Barbieri’s comments “deeply concerning.”

“Planned Parenthood has long been a target of anti-abortion violence, and comments like these only further incite violence,” Tolman said.

Barbieri could not be reached for comment Sunday or Monday morning.

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