To Idaho Lawmakers…

An open letter to Idaho state legislators: Once again, you spent your time and citizens’ tax dollars to pass laws that make sense and help Idaho operate more efficiently. Our July 1 local newspaper detailed six new laws that were effective as of that date. One I found particularly interesting: Abortion Limits—It will soon be illegal to buy, sell or donate fetal tissue even though no such practice exists in the state. The law is a response to undercover videos released last summer that alleged Planned Parenthood officials were selling fetal tissue for profit. It was later determined the videos were altered and a grand jury in Texas cleared Planned Parenthood officials. So time was spent to pass a law for a non-existent problem based on an altered video from another state. Meanwhile, women seeking an abortion will now be given a list of free ultrasound providers—typically owned by anti-abortion advocates. In 1971, Roe v. Wade was upheld by the Supreme Court giving a woman and her doctor the right to choose an abortion. In addition: Idaho health officials have released a list of providers that offer ultrasounds for women seeking abortions as required under a newly enacted law. The 11 ultrasound providers that requested to be included on the list primarily are crisis pregnancy centers, which often are run by religiously affiliated groups and discourage women from getting abortions. So, women who have made the very difficult and emotional decision to get an abortion are going to be bombarded by law, with anti-abortion literature by ultrasound providers who discourage abortions. Idaho’s health agency says it has not inspected or certified the centers. There’s no registry for this type of equipment in Idaho. Anyone can own and operate one. So, these centers do not have to be inspected or certified and anyone can operate them. Furthermore, state officials have posted a warning that the information the centers provide should not be used as medical advice and is not endorsed by the state. The list will be updated annually each Jan. 1. Therefore, the state is mandating the information about these ultrasound centers be provided to woman, but the state warns this information should not be used as medical advice and is not endorsed by the state. Way to cover your backsides, legislators! And, in the meantime, the list will be updated annually at taxpayer expense. This law is absolutely ridiculous and a waste of legislator’s time to enact the law. It is contradictory and adds unnecessary emotional stress on women seeking a legal abortion. Apparently conservative Republican legislators in our state want to push their religious beliefs on the populace of the state. Have you never heard of separation of church and state? Congratulations for your astute brilliance, common sense and using taxpayer’s money to pass laws to protect our citizens.

Maureen Tillberg
Sandpoint

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