News Abortion

Idaho Senator Hopes Women With “Rape Issue” Will Admit If It Was “Truly Caused By A Rape”

Robin Marty

The sponsor of the state's mandatory ultrasound bill appears worried women will cry "rape" when seeking abortions.

Idaho Senator Chuck Winder can’t make it any more clear that he wants to save “babies,” no matter the cost to women. First he proposed a bill, passed last week in the Senate, that would force women to obtain two ultrasounds prior to abortions– first a “free” ultrasound from a non-medical, ideological crisis pregnancy center and then a second expensive, medically-unnecessary ultrasound performed by the clinic that does the termination.  Now he’s now explaining why he believes abortion shouldn’t be allowed for rape or incest.

Yes, you know, that pesky “rape issue” about which women tend to lie so frequently.

Via the Spokesman Review:

In his closing debate in favor of SB 1387, Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said, “This bill does not require a trans-vaginal exam. … It leaves that up to the patient and the physician to make that determination.” He said, “Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes in to a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape. I assume that’s part of the counseling that goes on.” 

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Was it “truly” cause by a rape?  Senator Winder, thank you for epitomizing why politicians should not be allowed to legislate women’s health.

News Science

‘Fraudulent’ Bill Criminalizing Fetal Tissue Donations Heads to Idaho Governor

Nicole Knight

Democratic legislators staged a boycott of the legislation, refusing to attend a committee meeting where the anti-choice bill was set to be heard.

A Republican-backed bill to criminalize the “sale, transfer, distribution or other unlawful disposition” of fetal tissue derived from abortion care is headed to the desk of Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R).

The GOP measure is based on a series of widely discredited videos published by an anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the leaders of which have been indicted on felony and misdemeanor charges related to the group’s smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.

The “Unborn Infants Dignity Act,” SB 1404, outlaws research performed on “bodily remains or embryonic stem cells” derived from abortion care, including scientific work conducted by Idaho colleges and universities that receive public money.

Violators could face criminal penalties as high as five years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, or both.

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SB 1404 passed in the state senate last week in a party-line vote, and cleared the house in a 54-14 vote, with Rep. Fred Wood (R-Burley), a doctor, joining Democratic lawmakers in opposition.

Democratic members of the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday staged a boycott of the legislation, refusing to attend a committee meeting where the anti-choice bill was set to be heard, as the Spokesman-Review reported.

Four Democrats said in a statement provided to Rewire:

As the Democratic members of the House State Affairs Committee, we collectively chose to abstain from participating in today’s hearing of a bill because it is beneath our dignity, it is beneath the dignity of our constituents, and it is not worthy of our time or attention.

The bill before the committee today is a “fraud.” It is fraudulent to use our time here to run special interest bills that are bad public policy. This bill, like many others introduced this session, is designed to inflame a small constituency that these politicians count on to vote for them. That’s campaigning on the public dime.

The anti-choice group Idaho Chooses Life supports the law, which is copycat legislation that the national anti-choice group Americans United for Life is advancing at the state level in GOP strongholds.

Introducing the legislation last week in the house, Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa) referenced the surreptitiously recorded videos from CMP that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials participating in the illegal sale of fetal tissue.

Twenty states have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing or declined to investigate, as has Idaho’s governor, who rejected a request by nearly 30 Republican lawmakers to investigate the health-care organization.

Planned Parenthood operates clinics in Boise, Meridian, and Twin Falls, but does not offer a fetal tissue donation program in the state, said Hannah Brass Greer, Idaho legislative director of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, who spoke with Rewire in a phone interview.

“It’s clear that the proponents of this bill are part of the same group of people … that have been behind the attacks nationwide against Planned Parenthood,” Brass Greer said. “Even though Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong … they continue to move forward because no matter what, they oppose safe and legal abortion.”

As Rewire has reported, “[f]ederal law regulates the use of fetal tissue for research or transplant, and as far as federal statutes go, this one is pretty clear. It’s a crime for anyone to buy or sell fetal tissue for profit. It is not a crime to donate and transfer that tissue for research or transplant into another organism or tissue.”

“Donating any tissue or organ for research or transplant is an expensive process,” Rewire Vice President of Law and the Courts Jessica Mason Pieklo added, “which is why the [federal] law specifically states those involved may make and receive ‘reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.’”

Addressing the house on Thursday, Minority Leader John Rusche (D-Lewiston), who practiced pediatrics for 16 years, said he’d seen some people in his practice who chose to donate the organs of fetuses that were aborted because the fetuses would not have survived outside of the womb. He said the legislation would make this illegal, as MagicValley.com reported.

Rep. Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) grew emotional as he told lawmakers that he would have donated the organs of his stillborn fetus to save someone else.

“Running legislation on innuendo and passion is one thing,” Erpelding continued, as MagicValley.com reported. “Potentially harming the opportunity to save another child’s life because of a point that’s trying to be made is wrong.”

Otter has until April 1 to sign or veto the bill. If he fails to do either, it will automatically become law. The governor has a record of signing anti-choice restrictions.

News Abortion

Idaho GOP Advances Copycat Bill Banning Fetal Tissue Donation

Nicole Knight

The measure requires abortion providers to turn over fetal remains to the patient upon request and obligates the state to issue fetal death certificates in cases of miscarriage.

Idaho Republicans are backing a multipronged approach to outlaw fetal tissue donation after abortion procedures and prohibit state-supported universities from conducting research on tissue derived from the procedure.

The senate State Affairs Committee introduced the bill from state Sen. Cliff Bayer (R-Boise) on a party line vote. Republicans hold a majority in the committee and control both chambers of the Idaho legislature.

Idaho’s Planned Parenthood affiliates don’t conduct fetal tissue donation, said Hannah Brass Greer, Idaho legislative director of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii. “[N]o such practice exists” in the state, according to an Associated Press report.

Among its provisions, SB 1349 requires abortion providers to turn over fetal remains to the patient upon request and obligates the state to issue fetal death certificates in cases of miscarriage. Violators would face criminal penalties of up to five years in prison, $10,000 in fines, and a one-year license suspension.

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The anti-choice group Idaho Chooses Life proposed the bill, a copycat of the “Unborn Infants Dignity Act” by the national anti-choice legislation mill known as Americans United for Life (AUL). The Idaho GOP bill adds a new section to state law to declare: “It continues to be the public policy of the state of Idaho to promote live childbirth over abortion.”

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and Ohio are advancing similar AUL-drafted measures, while Indiana and Arkansas legislators passed versions of the copycat bill last year.

David Ripley of Idaho Chooses Life, addressing Idaho lawmakers, referenced the widely discredited hidden camera footage from the anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). The footage was edited to suggest Planned Parenthood broke the law by selling fetal tissue.

Republican legislators have worked in coordination with CMP officials since the summer to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding. Now, 12 states have cleared the health-care provider of allegations of wrongdoing, and CMP’s ringleaders face felony charges.

SB 1349 also would “[p]rohibit all Idaho institutions of higher education that receive public moneys from engaging in medical research using organs or tissue, including human embryonic stem cells, obtained from aborted infants.”

Brass Greer of Planned Parenthood said the bill would “place unnecessary restrictions on potentially life-saving research.”

“SB 1349 is clearly based on last year’s discredited and heavily biased videos targeting women who donated fetal tissue to medical research in other states,” Greer told Rewire in an emailed statement.

Planned Parenthood officials have said the organization operates fetal tissue donation programs in two statesCalifornia and Washington.

Two Democrats on the committee voted against the bill. State Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb (D-Boise) pointed out that SB 1349 requires changes to Idaho death certificate procedures and asked Ripley whether he had consulted with the state Bureau of Vital Statistics, as the Spokesman-Review reported. Ripley said he hadn’t.

State Sen. Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum) noted that current law permits adults to donate their organs, tissue, or remains after death.

The Republican-led committee last week introduced a bill requiring abortion providers to hand out a list of locations, compiled by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, where an abortion patient can get a free ultrasound. Opponents of the measure fear the locations will be mostly crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which are often staffed by anti-choice activists who deceive pregnant people about their options.

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