By Cameron Rasmusson
District 1 Rep. Heather Scott is aiming to go toe-to-toe with the federal government in defining the legality of abortion in Idaho.
Scott, R-Blanchard, and John Green, R-Post Falls, are partnering on legislation that would counter the federal legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade. The bill instructs the Idaho Attorney General to enforce state law irrespective of conflicting federal law and denies the federal government’s ability to override state 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,” the bill reads.
In a press release, Scott and Green said they do not intend to set in motion a test case that would challenge the legality of abortion at the federal level. Instead, they maintain that Idaho has the right to make its own laws on abortion regardless of what the federal government rules.
“We simply recognize that the courts render opinions which are sometimes unconstitutional and that the State of Idaho and its officers are bound by oath to original interpretation of the constitutions, both state and federal,” Green said in a press release.
Indeed, the bill’s language opens the door for Idaho to simply ignore any court challenges by the federal government should it become law.
“The state of Idaho and its political subdivisions, and agents thereof, may not enter an appearance, special or otherwise, in any federal suit challenging this act,” the language reads.
The bill puts teeth on its proposed changes to Idaho law by repealing the prohibition of prosecution for abortion. That opens the door for the state to introduce punishments against women who obtain abortions.
“Courts don’t make laws, the legislature does, and we are bound by our oath of office, to protect the fundamental human rights of all Idahoans,” Scott said in a press release.
Past attempts by the Idaho Legislature to restrict abortion have resulted in lengthy court battles over their legality. The Idaho State Journal reports that Planned Parenthood is fighting two laws introducing new requirements and restrictions related to abortion, while another law prohibiting video-based health consultations related to abortion was repealed after the state suffered a defeat in court.
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