BOISE, Idaho — An audio recording posted online on Sunday captures the pro-life identifying chairman of a Senate committee in Idaho telling a constituent that local pro-life groups are “adamantly opposed” to a bill that seeks to outlaw abortion in the state, and that he likewise finds it to be “detrimental to the pro-life movement” and “hopes it never sees the light of day” because it “doesn’t have a chance” in the courts.
According to the recording, Idaho Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Fred Martin believes that the Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act will likely be struck down by the courts and the State will have to pay the legal bills of the abortion rights groups that sue.
“Idaho code defines a fetus as a human and says killing a human is murder. Abortion is in contradiction to the inalienable rights recognized in the Idaho Constitution, and the State of Idaho has the authority to nullify federal laws that would allow abortions,” the Act reads.
“Their bill is detrimental to the pro-life movement. It destroys the pro-life movement. And I hope it never sees the light of day,” Martin told his constituent in the undated recording.
Martin stated that he is openly pro-life, has sponsored a number of bills to address the issue of abortion, and would like to see the practice end. However, he said that “every pro-life organization is against the bill”—namely Idaho Right to Life, National Right to Life and Idaho Chooses Life—and that he doesn’t “want to help the pro-choice abortion groups by passing bills that don’t have a chance in any way, shape or form.”
“It will be ruled unconstitutional,” Martin asserted. “It will cost the State millions and millions and millions of dollars that we pay the abortion people. We’ll be paying people who are performing abortions. We’ll be subsidizing them …”
“Then we challenge it in court and say that we defy [the ruling],” the constituent argued. “What about [how] Colorado is defying the federal government—California, Oregon, Washington—over marijuana?”
As previously reported, the Act to outlaw abortion is the effort of Rep. John Green, R-Post Falls, and Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, as they believe that the State needs to enforce its existing protections for the unborn and remove exemptions from homicide law for those who seek out or perform abortions. It declares that the State will ignore any federal laws to the contrary.
In a video posted to social media in January, Rep. Scott noted that some might assert that the State is bound to the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade. To refute this point, she pointed to language in the state Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, which directs officials to ignore any federal laws that are contrary to language in the Idaho Constitution as they pertain to firearms.
“It is the intent of the legislature in enacting this act to protect Idaho law enforcement officers from being directed, through federal executive orders, agency orders, statutes, laws, rules, or regulations enacted or promulgated on or after the effective date
of this act, to violate their oath of office and Idaho citizens’ rights under Section 11, Article I, of the Constitution of the state of Idaho,” the 2014 Act reads.
Therefore, she reasoned, why can’t the State likewise protect itself when it comes to its homicide statutes?
“My question to you is, why would we stand up for firearms when we won’t stand up for human life?” Scott asked.
However, lawmakers have not allowed the bill to even come up for a hearing. According to a Facebook page dedicated to the Act, “House State Affairs Chairman Steve Harris has told the bill’s sponsors that unless Idaho Chooses Life supports the bill, he will not hear it.”
The Act has also not been permitted to be placed on a committee agenda so that it may be voted on and a bill number assigned.
“We have studied these [pro-life] groups, and one of their problems is that they have historically operated in the paralyzing paradigm that if the federal courts say it is okay to kill children, then Idaho has to allow the killing of children,” the page states. “But, the Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act instead asserts that it is the lawful authority of the state to repudiate such an abhorrent court decision by banning all abortions regardless of what the federal court opinions are.”