An Idaho state lawmakers announced plans for a new bill this week that would make abortion a crime of first-degree murder, according to the Associated Press.
State Sen. Dan Foreman’s proposed bill would apply the first-degree murder charges to both women who have abortions and abortion practitioners who kill the unborn child, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the report states.
“I’m tired of babies dying,” said Foreman, R-Moscow. “It’s time to start the fight, and I’ll be the point man.”
Foreman told the Lewiston Tribune he does not care what people think of him; he wants to do “the right thing” in office.
“I don’t want to tell a woman what to do with her body, and neither should the government,” he continued. “But using that same logic, how can a woman tell her unborn child it has to die? Who represents the child?”
While pro-life advocates yearn for the day when unborn children are protected under law and abortions are banned, the pro-life movement has historically opposed punishing women who have abortions — instead focusing on holding abortion practitioners criminally accountable for the unborn children they kill in abortions. Current abortion bans, such as the ban on partial-birth abortions, do not punish women who have abortions.
The movement tends to view women, who frequently are pressured or coerced into having an abortion, as second victims of the abortion industry. That also is how states viewed women prior to Roe v. Wade, according to research by Clarke D. Forsythe, senior legal counsel for Americans United for Life.
In 2016, Forsythe wrote:
This political claim is not an abstract question that is left to speculation—there is a long record of states treating women as the second victim of abortion in the law that can be found and read. To state the policy in legal terms, the states prosecuted the principal (the abortionist) and did not prosecute someone who might be considered an accomplice (the woman) in order to more effectively enforce the law against the principal. And that will most certainly be the state policy if the abortion issue is returned to the states.
Though Foreman’s intentions appear to be good, his proposed bill likely would be challenged and struck down in the courts. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a personhood bill as unconstitutional because it recognized unborn babies as human beings with a right to life and banned all abortions.
The key to ending legalized abortion is overturning Roe v. Wade, and the current Supreme Court justices are highly unlikely to do so, especially after the unexpected death of pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia. Three of the justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, potentially would vote to overturn Roe and return abortion laws back to the authority of the states; but five of the other justices almost certainly would not. Scalia’s seat on the high court remains empty.
President-elect Donald Trump promised to nominate “pro-life” justices to the high court, but he would have to nominate and the Senate would have to confirm several justice before there is a chance of Roe v. Wade being overturned.