The latest battle, if you can call it that given the pitifully inadequate fight put up by our side, took place in Idaho over Senate Bill 1165. Like the Nebraska bill passed last year and the Kansas bill passed last week and the Missouri bill passed today, SB 1165 prohibits abortions after 20 weeks on the grounds of "fetal pain." But it goes further than the other bills. It permits no exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormality or the mental or psychological health of the pregnant woman. If the governor signs the bill, which he is likely to do, the new law would make it a felony to perform such abortions and it would allow spouses and other relatives to seek legal injunctions against a physician who violates the prohibition.
According to the Spokesman-Review:
State Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said the bill would force parents of infants with severe deformities who won’t survive to carry the pregnancy to term, rather than letting them decide how to react to the situation on their own. “These diagnoses were made right at about 20 weeks,” said Rusche, a pediatrician who has handled three such cases. “To knowingly force someone to carry a baby to term when they know it’s not going to survive I think is cruel.”
But that makes no never-mind to state senators who passed the bill on a party line vote of 24-10 two weeks ago. Or to the 54 Republicans of the 70-member state House of Representatives who passed it Tuesday. (All 13 Democrats and a lone Republican opposed.) Because, you see, God has a plan.
The Idaho bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told legislators that the “hand of the Almighty” was at work. “His ways are higher than our ways,” Crane said. “He has the ability to take difficult, tragic, horrific circumstances and then turn them into wonderful examples.” ...
Tanya Somanader at ThinkProgress gets it exactly right:
Crane’s belief that good can come from such horrific circumstances may be one shared or embraced by a sexual assault victim. However, that interpretation, that belief, that choice should be made by the woman — not forced upon her by law. The right to choose is not about the “innocence” or “guilt” of the fetus — or of the woman for that matter. It is about a woman being able to decide whether she is willing and able to carry a pregnancy to term.
The Idaho attorney general has ruled that the bill is unconstitutional because it violates the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on viability standards. The Spokesman-Review said Idaho had spent nearly $750,000 fighting unconstitutional anti-abortion laws passed during and after the 1990s. In one case, taxpayers were on the hook for $380,000 in attorney fees the state was ordered to pay to Planned Parenthood of Idaho after the group challenged a 2005 parental notification law.
Back in the days when Idaho had leaders who took the separation of church and state seriously, a governor by the name of Cecil Andrus chose to overcome his personal anti-abortion views by vetoing what would then have become one of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws. He risked his reelection chances by doing so. In a veto statement issued April 1, 1990, Andrus said: "The bill is drawn so narrowly that it would punitively and without compassion further harm an Idaho woman who may find herself in the horrible, unthinkable position of confronting a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest."
The current bill with its bogus fetal pain claims would be terrible enough even without the lack of exceptions. It would be dreadful even without bringing God into it. But it's no surprise. The anti-abortion troops have been relentlessly working in this direction since 10 minutes after Roe v. Wade was decided. And they'll keep going, seeking out every workaround they can until they reach their ultimate goal, which is no secret: coerced birth.
So, yes, it's depressing. And, yes, it's outrageous. If only those two could be combined into an effective political strategy for defeating the woman-hating forces that have seized so much of our nation by the throat.