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ID House Committee Approves Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Bill

Idaho Public TV screenshot

An Idaho Senate committee has advanced a bill that would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

The vote on Thursday came after testimony from people such as Angela Dwyer from Stanton Healthcare. That’s a Boise-based crisis pregnancy center. “There are many roads that lead women to the abortion choice, as varied as the women themselves. However, the universal realization and awakening in each one of these women occur when they see their baby’s heart beat for the first time. It transforms the concept of a pregnancy into reality," Dwyer said.

The bill provides three exceptions: when a woman is pregnant because of rape or incest or if her life is in danger.

Of those who spoke against the bill, several said there should be no exceptions, that all abortions should be illegal.

The bill passed after a hearing that was shortened with people still wanting to testify.
Afterward, abortion rights advocates, such as Mistie Tolman from Planned Parenthood of Idaho, complained about that and offered their testimony in a Facebook Live posted by ACLU of Idaho.

“This bill would force all patients seeking an abortion to undergo a mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound. That’s because this bill would ban abortions so early in pregnancy a trans-vaginal ultrasound would be the only way to determine gestational age. Forcing patients to undergo a medically-unnecessary procedure is unethical and demeaning," Tolman said.

The bill now moves to the House floor. Even if it becomes law, its authors acknowledge it wouldn’t immediately take effect. That would take a favorable ruling by a federal appeals court in a case challenging another state’s similarly-strict abortion law.