Finally a state that recognizes life and when it begins.
– Pastor Greg Young
By Emily Ward
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Idaho state lawmakers released the draft of a proposed law that would treat abortion as murder and allow it to be prosecuted as such.
The Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act, drafted by Idaho state representatives John Green (R) and Heather Scott (R), would repeal a section of Idaho law that prohibits the prosecution of abortion.
Currently, section 18-4001 of the Idaho Code defines murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being including, but not limited to, a human embryo or fetus.” In addition, under Idaho Code 32-102, “a child conceived, but not yet born, is to be deemed an existing person so far as may be necessary for its interests, in the event of its subsequent birth.”
Under current Idaho law, however, “the killing of an embryo or fetus” through abortion is legal.
Section 18-4016 of the Idaho Code prohibits the prosecution of “any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law.”
The Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act would repeal section 18-4016. “Abortion is, without question, the chief means of depriving unborn Idahoans of the most fundamental of all human rights, which is the right to life,” said Reps. Green and Scott.
“To accomplish this historic restoration of human rights for the unborn in Idaho, the act simply repeals the prohibition of prosecution for abortion, found in Idaho Code 18-4016 and puts the matter within existing statute for the prosecution of murder, where it clearly belongs,” said the lawmakers.
Prosecution apparently would apply to the abortionist and persons who assist in abortions, but not to the mother of the child.
The legal change would protect Idaho’s law enforcement officers and legislators to prosecute abortion regardless of federal law.
“Idaho code defines a fetus as a human and says killing a human is murder, abortion is in contradiction to the inalienable rights recognized in the Idaho Constitution, and the State of Idaho has the authority to nullify federal laws that would allow abortions,” reads part of the draft legislation.
Currently, abortion access is protected under Roe v. Wade, the controversial 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout the United States. A recent Marist poll, however, found that 65 percent of Americans think the decision should be revisited or even reversed – and, in an interview published on Wednesday, Jan. 23, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen admitted that “within the next year we could see Roe v. Wade overturned or further eroded.”
In a press release, Rep. Green and Rep. Scott noted that the potential new Idaho law “is not an attempt to establish a test case for federal judicial review.”
“Rather, it recognizes that the courts render opinions that are sometimes unconstitutional and that the State of Idaho and its officers are bound by oath to original interpretation of the constitutions,” the lawmakers wrote.
Reps. Scott and Green also noted that Idaho, “as a sovereign state within the federal republic, has the fundamental duty to act as a check and a balance to the federal government when it errs on constitutional issues.”
“In fact, courts don’t make laws, legislatures do,” the lawmakers added.
The pro-life group Americans United for Life wrote, in its annual publication on abortion-related legislation in the United States, that Idaho “has made significant strides in protecting women and the unborn from abortion.”
In March 2018, Idaho passed an amendment to SB 1243, a law which aims to ensure that “the consent to an abortion is truly informed consent.”
The amendment required doctors to offer women seeking abortions the option to observe their unborn child’s heartbeat via ultrasound, and tell women seeking chemical abortions about interventions that could potentially reverse the abortion part-way through.
SB 1243 also requires abortion facilities to provide pregnant women with photos and physical descriptions of fetuses throughout pregnancy, as well as descriptions of abortion procedures.