UPDATE: Idaho Legislature votes to ban partial-birth abortion
The Idaho House of Representatives voted 50 to 11 to ban partial-birth abortion Friday. The bill is now on its way to Governor Brad Little’s desk to be signed into law.
The Senate previously passed the bill with a 29 to 6 vote.
BOISE — Partial-birth abortion is technically illegal in Idaho, but the law has been unenforceable since 1999 due to a federal court ruling.
Now a group of Idaho lawmakers are trying to rectify that.
A proposed bill would bring Idaho code regarding partial-birth abortion into alignment with the federal ban on the practice. This would allow the state to enforce its ban on partial-birth abortion.
“We’ve known for a while that we needed to go back and clean up our code to have it match the federal language,” Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, one of the bill’s sponsors, told EastIdahoNews.com.
A federal district court overturned Idaho’s partial-abortion law in 1999 with their ruling in Weyhrich v. Lance. The court ruled the law was unconstitutional for three main reasons.
The ban was vague on what exact procedures were banned. According to the court’s opinion, the law was “so hopelessly imprecise that physicians simply cannot know what conduct it bans.”
It also didn’t have exceptions to protect the woman’s health or life.
Hartog said she believed many partial-birth abortion bans around the country were overturned due to lacking exceptions protecting the woman’s life.
“(The bill) adds a very specific definition to mirror the federal definition of what partial-birth abortion is. It includes the exception for the health of the mother. And it mirrors the civil remedies that are in the federal statute,” Hartog explained.
Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa, and Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, are cosponsoring the bill with Hartog.
The bill was submitted to the State Affairs Committee on Feb. 4.
A draft of another bill regarding abortion was released earlier this year. That proposed bill would make any abortion, under any circumstances, prosecutable as murder. That bill, the Abortion Human Rights Act sponsored by Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, and Rep. John Green R-Post Falls has yet to go before a Committee.