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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Coercion Bill Before Senate State Affairs Today

HB 654, legislation which will criminalize forced abortions in Idaho, passed the Idaho House yesterday by an overwhelming 55-11 margin. Today, we have an opportunity to explain the problem of coerced abortions to the Senate State Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Curt McKenzie, Republican of Nampa.

The opposition on the House floor was led by Boise Democrat Reps. Phylis King, Bill Killen and Nicole LeFavour.

Rep. Killen offered a series of questions during debate which suggested he had not actually read the bill – expressing fears that men might be charged with criminal coercion even in cases where the victim was unaware of the coercion.

The major thrust of opposition seemed to focus on the fact that the bill did not specifically provide for the coercion of women to give birth.

Bill sponsor Rep. Bob Nonini (R-CdA) responded by observing that a wealth of federal protections for the so-called right to an abortion exist – from the FACE Act to dozens of court decisions; on the other hand, virtually nothing has been done in the country to defend a woman’s right to give birth.

That argument was insufficient to dissuade ten House Democrats and one Republican (Tom Trail – Moscow) from opposing this very modest protection for pregnant women and girls.

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