by Steven Ertelt
March 28, 2008
Boise, ID (LifeNews.com) — The Idaho state legislature has given final approval to a bill making it a crime to threaten or harass a pregnant women into having an abortion. The measure targets the frequent occurrence of a woman’s partner coercing or pressuring her into having an abortion she otherwise wouldn’t want.
The Idaho Senate voted on Thursday 29-6 to create the crime of abortion-coercion and HB 654 now awaits the signature of Gov. Butch Otter.
The Idaho House chamber voted 55-11 Tuesday to approve the legislation.
The bill applies to cases when someone would threaten a pregnant woman or inflict injury or death on her in pressuring her to have an abortion. Should the crime involve an act of violence it would become a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
Republican Representative Bob Nonini of Coeur d’Alene is the main sponsor of the Anti-Coercion Bill (HB 464).
Idaho Chooses Life is the main pro-life group behind the bill and a statement from the group praised passage of it.
"This new act defines the coercion of an abortion as a crime for the first time since the Supreme Court forced America to allow abortions in our communities," it said.
Still, the group was hoping for stronger legislation and it was upset when a committee scaled back the measure from the language originally introduced.
According to the organization, the revised bill has been narrowly drawn to define "coercion" as including only assault and battery.
"From our two-year study of this serious problem, it is clear that coercion takes many forms all of them potentially deadly to the mother and baby," the group says.
ICL says those problems will have to be corrected in a future legislative session.
The group is also concerned about threats from Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups to file a lawsuit against the bill should it become law.
"Their repeated threats to sue in federal court if we persist in efforts to protect women from forced abortion have had an effect on legislators," the group says. "They simply refuse to allow the State to interfere with their business practices, which obviously involve doing abortions on women and girls they suspect are under duress."
Ultimately, the organization says HB 464 is a good first-step at protecting women from forced abortions.
Right to Life of Idaho also supports it because it would "protect a pregnant woman from being coerced into having an abortion."
ACTION: Contact Governor Otter and urge him to sign HB 464 into law.