POST FALLS — State Reps. John Green and Heather Scott unveiled a draft of their Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act on Tuesday. The bill would end the exemption for abortion from Idaho murder laws. The authors say the exemption is inconsistent with the state constitution’s protection of life.
Article 1, Section 1 of the Idaho Constitution says, “All men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life.”
“Abortion is, without question, the chief means of depriving unborn Idahoans of the most fundamental of all human rights, which is the right to life,” said the legislators.
Their legislation is not intended to serve as a test case to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade in the courts. Scott and Green said that it is Idaho code, not Roe v. Wade, that has made abortion legal in the Gem State.
Section 18-4001, Idaho Code, defines murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being including, but not limited to, a human embryo or fetus, with malice aforethought or the intentional application of torture to a human being, which results in the death of a human being.”
However, other portions of state law permit abortion. Section 18-4016, Idaho Code, specifically exempts doctors performing abortions and the women who request them from being prosecuted for murder.
The Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act would repeal that section of state law.
“To accomplish this historic restoration of human rights for the unborn in Idaho, the act simply repeals the prohibition of prosecution for abortion, found in Idaho Code 18-4016 and puts the matter within existing statute for the prosecution of murder, where it clearly belongs,” Green and Scott said.
Abortions performed before the bill’s effective date would not be retroactively prosecuted.
The bill would also forbid the state and its political subdivisions from joining federal litigation against the law.
The basis of this action is the doctrine of state sovereignty and the right of the state to nullify federal laws, said the legislators.
“We simply recognize that the courts render opinions which are sometimes unconstitutional and that the state of Idaho and its officers are bound by oath to original interpretation of the constitutions, both state and federal,” Green said.
“Courts don’t make laws, the Legislature does, and we are bound by our oath of office, to protect the fundamental human rights of all Idahoans,” Scott said.
Green said he and Scott are working with committee chairmen to determine in which committee to introduce the bill.