Idaho soon could see a bill that would declare abortion murder and punish abortionists who kill unborn babies.
East Idaho News reports state Reps. Heather Scott and John Green are sponsoring the legislation to make state laws about the killing of unborn babies consistent.
“If you look at our Idaho code, we define life as a fetus. And it’s considered murder if you kill a fetus,” Scott told the local news. “But we just give an exemption if you have an abortion.”
Their proposed bill, the Abortion Human Rights Act, would end the exemption for abortion in Idaho’s murder laws. Green and Scott said the abortion exemption is inconsistent with the state constitution’s protection of life and definition of murder.
“We either define life as a fetus, or we don’t,” Scott added. “A woman can go out of state if she needs an abortion. But we just wouldn’t do it in our state. We’ll protect life in our state.”
The bill would repeal part of Idaho’s homicide law that specifically excludes abortion from prosecution. Furthermore, it would forbid the state from joining federal litigation against the law, according to the report.
However, the bill could run into trouble even with many pro-lifers. According to the local news, it would allow women to be punished for aborting unborn babies as well as abortionists.
While pro-life advocates yearn for the day when unborn children are protected under law and abortions are banned, the pro-life movement long has opposed punishing mothers who have abortions — instead focusing on holding abortion practitioners criminally accountable for the unborn children they kill in abortions.
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Historically, the pro-life movement and the U.S. legal system have not prosecuted women for abortions, even prior to Roe v. Wade.
The movement tends to view women, who frequently are pressured or coerced into having an abortion, as second victims of the abortion industry. That is how states viewed the issue prior to Roe v. Wade, too, 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.
Prior to Roe, California and 19 other states had statutes that technically made it a crime for a woman to participate in her own abortion; however, these were not enforced, and even historians who support Roe v. Wade admit this to be true, according to his research.
If the Idaho bill passes, the bill almost certainly would face a legal challenge from the abortion industry. There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain. Some legal scholars have speculated that the conservative court would be more likely to consider cases that gradually chip away at Roe v. Wade rather than reverse it completely. When courts rule against such laws, state taxpayers often are forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.