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Idaho House Approves Abortion Bill

Idaho Public Television

The Idaho House voted today [Tuesday] to prohibit local governments and health districts from giving Medicaid money to organizations that perform abortions.

Rep. Bryan Zollinger [R-Idaho Falls] says his bill offers a financial incentive for Planned Parenthood and other doctors who perform abortions. Give up doing those procedures and you can reclaim the Medicaid money you now collect for providing other health-related services to women with low incomes.

“This problem does not solve the problem of abortion. This bill does not protect every unborn life. I wish it did. I hope we can get there soon. What this bill does is make sure, perhaps it will reduce some abortions because people will choose to take the state funding rather than perform abortions," Zollinger said.

His bill has some exceptions. For example, it wouldn’t stop funding abortions where the mother’s life is in danger or in cases where the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest.

The legislation passed on a 52-17 vote. Democratic House members were against it.

“All this bill does is threaten and take away funding for good medical service that people are enjoying and they deserve," said Rep. Melissa Wintrow [D-Boise].

Three Republicans, including Rep. Heather Scott [R-Blanchard], also voted down the bill. Scott argued it doesn’t push the state any closer to completely banning abortion.

“We’re not going to shut these guys down this way. I can’t support paying for the death penalty for babies. I just would challenge you to just stop compromising when it comes to pro-life issues," Scott said.

Zollinger’s bill now heads to the state Senate.