Idaho Pro-Life Advocates Put Forward New Right to Know Abortion Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 18, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Idaho Pro-Life Advocates Put Forward New Right to Know Abortion Law

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 18, 2004

Boise, ID ( — While one pro-life group’s efforts to get the state of Idaho to enforce an old, problematic law have failed, other pro-life advocates in the state are pushing ahead with new legislation that gives women the right to know about abortion’s risks and alternatives prior to having the lifechanging procedure.

Earlier this month, the Idaho Supreme Court rejected an effort by Idaho Chooses Life to get the state health department to enforce a law that some pro-life advocates say has "serious flaws."

Though that effort was turned backed, pro-life groups are pressing on.

Right to Life of Idaho and the Cornerstone Institute have put forward legislation that is similar to pro-life laws in other states that have been responsible for reducing abortions by as much as one-third in the states that have them.

"If implemented, this bill would save lives," Mary Balch, the director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, told

Balch said pro-life Governor Dirk Kempthorne (R) and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden both support the legislation.

The proposal requires abortion facilities to provide women with the information, including fetal development facts and information about adoption, and to wait 24 hours before they can perform the abortion.

The new bill also gives any person the authority to sue an abortion practitioner if the informed consent law is not followed. This allows a teenager’s parents or the father of the baby to sue if necessary.

The state health department would be required to produce a brochure containing all of the information and women considering abortions would be required to sign a form indicating the abortion facility provided it.

The old Right to Know law, approved prior to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, allows abortion practitioners to determine when women considering abortions ought to have the information provided to them.

"The need for this legislation is readily apparent upon a reading of the current Idaho law on this matter," Balch said. "Specifically, there is a loophole in the current law that renders it useless."

Balch said the loophole gives abortion practitioners the ability to never give out the information by providing them with sufficient legal justification.

Idaho Chooses Life has said it will oppose the pro-life bill, but Julie Lynde of the Cornerstone Institute and Kerry Uhlenkott of Right to Life of Idaho say they are in contact with the governor’s office and they are confident that Gov. Kempthorne will work with them to see that the law is instituted correctly.

Related web sites:
Idaho State Legislature –