Senate Passes Controversial Ultrasound Bill 23-12

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Five Republican members of the Idaho Senate joined all seven Democrats today in a losing effort to stop Senate Bill 1387, which would require all Idaho women, even victims of rape or incest, to undergo an ultrasound before they could have an abortion.

The 23-12 vote followed more than two hours of Senate debate on the bill, which shadows similar measures in Virginia and Texas. The Idaho bill also mandates that the Department of Health and Welfare manage a list of locations, mostly anti-abortion clinics, where those considering an abortion could obtain a free ultrasound.

"I come here with no malice or no judgment," said bill sponsor Boise Republican Sen. Chuck Winder. "I have a heart that offers forgiveness, offers understanding, and offers compassion."

But Ketchum Democratic Sen. Michelle Stennett said Winder's bill gave no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

"This mandated procedure would be a second assault on the victims," said Stennett. "This bill treats a woman like a criminal before she takes any action. It takes the decision away from the woman and places it in the hands of the state."

Pocatello Democratic Sen. Edgar Malepeai said all male legislators should have been barred from considering the bill.

"I have no idea what a woman goes through when they make these decisions," said Malepeai.

But Dalton Gardens Republican Sen. Steve Vick said he was more than comfortable in supporting the bill.

"I am pleased to do whatever I can to protect innocent human life," said Vick. "I believe [this legislation] gives the unborn one more chance to make the case that they should live, and for me, that overrides the other concerns that I might have about this bill."

But five of Vick's GOP colleagues, Sens. Joyce Broadsword of Sagle, Tim Corder of Mountain Home, John Goedde of Coeur d'Alene, James Hammond of Coeur d'Alene and Shawn Keough of Sandpoint disagreed and voted against the legislation.,

S.B. 1387 now heads to the Idaho House, where the State Affairs Committee, chaired by Iona Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher, is expected to take up the bill.

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