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Hearing to clarify exceptions in Idaho abortion law delayed

Idaho Statehouse
Samantha Wright
Boise State Public Radio
Idaho Statehouse

A bill that attempts to clarify exemptions in Idaho’s abortion law did not get a hearing Wednesday as scheduled.

Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa), the chair of the House State Affairs Committee, said he was holding it to work out some issues.

The move came after the Idaho Republican Party sent out an email Tuesday night, claiming the bill was an attempt by doctors to “have more leeway to perform abortions in Idaho.” The email called on people to tell committee members that Idaho’s abortion law is working as is.

The measure introduced this weekby Rep. Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett) and co-sponsored by Sen. Todd Lakey (R-Nampa) would change the wording in Idaho’s criminal abortion law. It would get rid of the need for doctors to provide an “affirmative defense” in front of a judge for abortions in cases of rape, incest or to save a patient’s life.

Instead, it carves those cases out as exceptions if the physician is using “reasonable medical judgment.”

The bill clarifies exceptions for certain life-threatening conditions, like making clear that the “removal of a dead unborn child” or ending an ectopic pregnancy do not qualify as an abortion.

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. As the pregnancy develops it can cause the tube to burst, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which can be life-threatening to the patient.

The bill also attempts to make it easier for victims of rape or incest to quickly obtain a copy of a police report – within 72 hours of reporting the abuse to law enforcement – because the victim needs to submit it to the doctor providing the abortion for proof.

Violating Idaho’s criminal abortion law is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Rachel Cohen joined Boise State Public Radio in 2019 as a Report for America corps member. She is the station's Twin Falls-based reporter, covering the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley.