Idaho State Senate Approves Bill to Protect Pro-Life Medical Conscience Rights

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 26, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Idaho State Senate Approves Bill to Protect Pro-Life Medical Conscience Rights

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 26
, 2010

Boise, ID ( — The Idaho state Senate approved a bill today that would create statutory protections for health care professionals in specific areas of medical practice. Friday’s 21-13 vote on SB 1353 came after the Senate State Affairs committee voted 6-3 to send the bill to the floor.

The legislation makes it so pro-life health care workers don’t have to fear for their jobs if they decide they don’t want to dispense drugs that could be used to cause abortions or kill patients at the end of their life.

According to an AP report, the debate was intense and emotional.

Sen. Chuck Winder, the Boise Republican sponsor, deflected charges from pro-abortion lawmakers that the bill is a "right-wing scheme" brought by a "bunch of religious fanatics," but rather an effort to legitimately protect medical workers.

“We’re not going to leave anybody in the lurch,” he said. “We’re not going to take away the rights of a patient.”

Winder said he worked on the bill with the Idaho Hospital Association and Idaho Medical Association, which don’t oppose the plan as pro-abortion groups do.

Democrat Sen. Les Bock of Boise claimed the bill would block access to health care and medical decisions.

The Idaho Reporter indicated Sens. Shirley McKague and Russ Fulcher both spoke in favor of the bill.

“Licensed health care professionals also have conscience and they need to be protected,” Fulcher said. He added that it isn’t the intent of the legislation to change what health care workers are required to tell patients.

David Ripley, the director of Idaho Chooses Life, talked more about the bill after the committee approved it.

"Opposition to the bill came largely from the abortion lobby because of their fears that it will create impediments to easy distribution of so-called emergency contraception," he said. "Much of the morning debate was taken up with a debate of how the drug works."

"Oddly enough, the debate was settled by the closing testimony of retired abortionist Duane St. Clair, who acknowledged that emergency contraception can sometimes cause the destruction of an embryo by making the uterine wall inhospitable to the new human life," he added.

Idaho Right to Life and the Catholic Diocese of Boise supported the legislation along with ICL and Dr. Will Rainford, representing Bishop Driscoll, emphasized the spiritual gravity of forcing Christian medical personnel to participate in medical procedures they know to be wrong.

Related web sites:
Idaho Choose Life –

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