A personal bill was brought forward in the Idaho House of Representatives on Jan. 22 by Rep. Heather Scott. House Bill 361, also known as the Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act (AHRA), would make it illegal for anyone to “perform, procure, or attempt to perform an abortion” in the state of Idaho.
Scott’s bill would also “repeal a section of Idaho code that prohibits the prosecution of abortion as murder.” According to the bill, there will be no exceptions to this law for cases of rape or incest. However, The AHRA makes a crime only the intentional killing of a preborn child, meaning medical emergencies like ectopic pregnancies will be an exception.
“The ethical approach by the medical industry is that in a critical care situation, both mother and baby are treated as patients, and whatever is medically possible to save both should be attempted,” Scott stated on her website. “The concept of triage is that when there are multiple patients and limited abilities and resources, the patient with the most critical need and reasonable possibility of success may be prioritized. As an aside, by the time ectopic pregnancies are diagnosed, almost always the baby is already deceased, and thus treatment of ectopic pregnancy is not considered an abortion.”
During the 2019 legislative session, Rep. Scott and former Rep. John Green attempted to change abortion laws in Idaho. As a personal bill, Scott is guaranteed a bill number, but not a hearing.
According to a press release by Scott, only two counties in Idaho perform abortions, Twin Falls and Ada county. Scott says her bill would put an end to these practices and allow Idaho representatives to be educated on the nature of abortion.
“After several discussions with the Committee Chairman, we believe much more education is needed for legislators,” Scott said in a press release. “Remember, federal court opinions have been telling citizens and lawmakers for 50 years that murdering babies is okay, as long as the mother and her doctor are doing it.”
Scott’s bill has been met with discouragement from certain pro-life lobbyist groups in Idaho, but Scott says these groups need to be educated on the nature of the bill.
“I would encourage you to make sure you are supporting a group that is working to end all abortion in Idaho and not give you lip service while their hand is out,” Scott said. “The division between various pro-life lobby groups is hurting efforts to make abortion truly illegal in our state.”
Rep. Green worked closely with Scott last year on a bill that would make abortion a crime in which the mother and doctor would be charged with first-degree murder. Green says these bills are the most important in the legislation.
“I made no secret about the fact, when I was running [for office], that I am committed to ending the murder or pre-born Idahoans,” Green said. “I want people to understand that this legislation is not about overturning some arbitrary federal Supreme Court case. This bill is about the sovereignty of the State of Idaho enforcing our statutes about the murder of the most vulnerable segment of our population.”
Moon and Green have explained the importance of this bill passing, but some feel the bill is too restrictive of women’s rights. Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said restricting abortion will not end abortion, but will end safe and legal abortion.
“Now more than ever, the aims of the anti-choice movement are clear: They’re committed to ending Roe v. Wade by any means necessary, criminalizing abortion, and punishing women,” Hogue said in a press release. “But every draconian law at the state level was matched by unprecedented levels of outrage and organizing, and key electoral victories in 2018 paved the way for state legislative victories across the country as well.”