Last call--time to pay up. First on the list: Mr. State of Idaho, whose three years worth of legislating under the influence of dogma leaves him (in this case, we're pretty sure it's a him) owing Planned Parenthood almost 400 Gs in attorneys' fees, according to a ruling last Friday at the bar run by U.S. District Judge Mikel Williams.
Williams, if you recall, hasn't always come down on PPI's side of the parental consent abortion law debate. In 2001, he actually ruled in favor of the legality of parental consent. But in 2004, a Ninth District Court labeled the whole law, kit and caboodle, to be unconstitutional--a ruling which the U.S. Supreme Court backed up by declining to review the case last July. Governor Dirk Kempthorne promptly signed a third version of the bill into law, but an Idaho District Court ruled it to be unconstitutional as well, saying in its ruling, "[The law's] chilling effect could be substantial enough to cause the mature minor to forego the emergency procedure even if it threatened her life." After the most recent ruling, Planned Parenthood of Idaho asked for more than $550,000 in attorney's fees, according to a story in the Twin Falls Times-News. Williams reportedly reduced some of the billed hours to account for duplicate services. But even after the reduction, the new tab means Idaho has dumped nearly $750,000 into defending parental consent legislation.
That leads us to the really uncomfortable part of the conversation: that is, you should probably leave your debit card with the bartender, Mr. State, because it looks like the bill might keep growing. Bill Sali (R-Kuna), the force behind the original overturned laws, is still eyeballing a new version, and the Governor/facilitator who signed those versions is still in office, at least for now.
So ... how do we put this? Idaho, we care about you, but you have a problem. Get help--now.