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Idaho attorney general refutes false claim that he ‘cut a deal’ with Planned Parenthood in abortion lawsuit

By Audrey Dutton Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden on Wednesday issued a news release to publicly refute a claim by Idaho Family Policy Center President Blaine Conzatti regarding Wasden’s legal defense of the state’s new abortion law, styled after a similar law in Texas.

The law, Senate Bill 1309, passed the Idaho Legislature this session and was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little on March 23.

Little said he believed the law, which allows family members of abortion patients to sue the patient’s health care provider, used a flawed mechanism and was likely to invite court challenges.

A week later, a regional chapter of Planned Parenthood filed suit over the law.

Conzatti claimed in an article posted on the policy center’s website, and in a mass email to the policy center’s subscribers, that “the Idaho Attorney General cut a deal with Planned Parenthood, in which both parties agreed to let the court temporarily block the law in exchange for slowing down court proceedings.”

That was false, Wasden’s office said in the news release, adding, “Conzatti has since apologized to the office for the false representation.”

Wasden said Conzatti apologized “during a meeting in which my attorneys discussed with him his intentions of having his organization join our defense of the bill through an amicus brief.

This was a good faith effort on my part to work with an outside organization that shares a legal interest in this case similar to that of the state’s.”

Wasden said nobody in his office made a deal with Planned Parenthood, nor did he.

“As the Attorney General, my statutorily-mandated role as the state’s chief legal officer includes defense of state laws when they’re challenged in court,” Wasden said in the news release. “Upon the filing of the suit, my office began a vigorous defense of the new law. That defense continues today.”

The claim stemmed from a misrepresentation in a court document filed by Planned Parenthood, Wasden said.

“Planned Parenthood’s misrepresentation and the similar language used by the court in its order likely prompted Conzatti’s email,” Wasden’s office said in the news release. “However, upon being made aware of the facts of the matter, neither he, nor his organization, have corrected the false narrative.”