Two very different rallies took over the steps of the Idaho Statehouse Monday - one anti-abortion protest right before twilight and the other, a pro-choice candlelit vigil lit up the nighttime.
The backdrop for both was Senate Bill 1387, Republican Sen. Chuck Winder's proposed measure that would mandate ultrasounds for Idaho women before having an abortion, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
Right to Life Idaho director Jason Herring, speaking at the late-afternoon rally, told supporters of the bill that Winder had been receiving threats.
Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Janice McGeachin, a co-sponsor, said criticism of Winder was "very un-Christian-like behavior."
Less than two hours later, just as the sun was setting, the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood Greater Northwest sponsored a rally that turned out to be one of the largest demonstrations during the 2012 legisaltive session. Hundreds of opponents of SB 1387 gathered and then began walking the entire perimeter of the Statehouse, carrying signs that said "End Discrimination" and "Protect Women's Health."
Laurie Adkins and her young-adult daughter Sara were among the hundreds, carrying signs and holding flashlights modeled as candles.
Sarah Brown stood on the Capitol steps holding a sign that said "Keep the governement out of our examinations." She told Citydesk that she was there on behalf of her three children, ages 8, 11 and 13.
Nearby sat Karen Johnson who told Citydesk that this was how she chose to spend her 56th birthday.
"Our legislators don't know the true meaning of the term 'representative democracy,'" said Johnson. "This bill wouldn't impact my life, but I'm here on behalf of all the women whose lives would be impacted."
What's the future of SB 1387? Still no word of a hearing being scheduled in front of the House State Affairs Committee but both sides of the issue say they're not taking any chances, and will remain engaged until lawmakers have adjourned for the year.