Idaho Takes Aim at Abortion
Garrison Hardie

Idaho Takes Aim at Abortion

The proposed bill would ban any public money going to organizations that provide abortions.

BOISE, ID - Idaho has taken aim at abortion in the past and is doing so again, as this week a bill aimed at defunding abortion providers passed the Idaho House 52-17. The bill will now make its way to the Senate. 

“This bill strips any provider of abortion services of any state funding. This does not outlaw any abortions,” Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls, told the House on Tuesday. Zollinger is also the bill's sponsor. 

Zollinger said his bill, HB 525, could lower the amount of abortions in Idaho, however, because abortion providers “will choose to take the state funding rather than perform abortions. But if not, at least none of our state taxpayer dollars are going to fund abortion.”

Zollinger also estimated this bill would cut off roughly $500,000 worth of funding, mostly to Planned Parenthood. 

There was some debate, much of it centered around the argument that the bill doesn't go far enough. In addition the all of the 14 House Democrats voting against the bill, three Republican Reps. voted against the bill as well. Heather Scott argued the bill has “good intentions” but it does not truly advance the “pro-life movement” because abortions are still legal under the bill. Scott would have it banned altogether. 

Abortions have been legal across the country since 1973, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Roe in Roe V. Wade. 

Meanwhile, Rep. Melissa Winthrow, D-Boise, stated that the bill won't accomplish what Zollinger suggests. 

“Currently, Planned Parenthood does not take any state money. There are reimbursements from Medicaid that go to services such as cancer screenings, gynecological exams and other health services,” Wintrow said.

Zollinger argued that while this money may not go directly to abortion procedures, it still winds up together in the same pool with other money. 

“They don’t have a pooling of money. They track every dime and they make sure that is separate from the (abortion) service,” Wintrow said.

In 2018 (the most recent report available), Idaho reported 1,257 abortions according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare annual reports.  

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