The 62nd Idaho Legislature adjourned yesterday, clearly in a rush to return home to begin their campaigns for re-election. The Primary Election is less than ten weeks away.
We are pained to report that this Legislature made absolutely no progress in protecting Idaho’s preborn children from the scourge of abortion. In fact, we probably went backwards over the past two years. There is simply no good spin to put on the matter.
We worked long and hard this session to get legislation enacted that would govern the use of RU-486 in order to protect the health and lives of women and girls using the dangerous pills. At the end of the day, we were unable to get a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee for our legislation. Part of that result can fairly be blamed on the pro-Life community itself: We had a very difficult time resolving serious disagreements over the profound question of how Idaho should treat cases of self-abortions. Yet agreement on language was finalized on February 27th, three weeks before the Legislature’s expedited adjournment.
We were then told that there was “insufficient time” to move an abortion bill.
It was a painful and frustrating message. We have seen many times the Legislature move quickly on issues it cares about. In fact, on the last day for a possible committee hearing, the State Affairs Committee took up the pressing matter of raising salaries for constitutional officers. And you can sure that that legislation was moved through the process before they quit.
There were heroes in this session: Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, Sen. Steve Vick, Sen. Bart Davis, Rep. Judy Boyle and Rep. Tom Loertscher devoted many hours to studying the issues involved in regulating the use of RU-486 and offering assistance in negotiating the differences between pro-Life groups.
But their leadership and energy was insufficient to overcome this Legislature’s inertia.
This lack of action carries potentially serious consequences. As we will discuss in future postings, the Legislature has yet to respond to several devastating rulings by federal Judge Lynn Winmill – rulings which have cut a huge hole in numerous parts of Idaho’s Abortion Code. Those rulings are now some three years old.
The failure to rise in defense of preborn children this year is particularly upsetting given last year’s defeats. As you will recall, the Legislature was determined to partner up with the President in imposing ObamaCare upon the people of Idaho. They then rejected our call for a Religious Liberty Amendment to that legislation which would serve to protect Christian employers from being forced to purchase insurance plans which cover abortion-causing drugs like Plan B and Ella.
Making matters even worse, the Idaho Senate failed to approve modest legislation last year which would have given the state’s pro-Life pregnancy centers support and encouragement by exempting them from the state sales tax – a measure which might have cost $10,000 a year. Good grief.
Time is short and the pro-Life community in Idaho must rally if we hope to move forward on protecting babies and their mothers in the years ahead. Our opportunity to elect a more compassionate Legislature is just weeks away.