In the House State Affairs Committee meeting on Thursday, January 17, 2019, RS26515 was approved for printing and will become an official bill. It will amend the legislation passed last session known as the Idaho Abortion Complications Reporting Act (IACRA). According to Representative Chaney’s presentation in the meeting, the proposed bill unifies some of the definitions of complication used in the act and moves some terms currently listed under complications over to data to be reported. The changes are minor and do not appear to affect the current case pending over the IACRA in the Ninth Circuit Court. Thus, introducing RS26515 was relatively simple.
During the meeting, most of the discussion focused on the potential financial impact on the litigation process. Representative Gannon argued that “when we have bills of this nature, a hundred percent of them seem to go to court.” The fiscal note indicated that there would be no impact. However, because of the contentious nature of the issue, Representative Gannon doubted whether this note was accurate and moved that there be an estimate added. Representative Armstrong pointed out that any bill is liable to litigation, so requiring a financial assessment of litigation costs on this means requiring the same for every potential measure. Other legislators agreed with this argument against Representative Gannon’s motion. RS26515 itself was voted upon and passed. Representative Smith requested that it be on the record that she opposed the potential bill. During the discussion, Representative Smith said she was against IACRA as well.
Although this draft legislation will not have a significant impact either on the court case or the legislation itself, it is encouraging that something even tangentially pro-life is moving forward in the legislature. A common argument for abortion is that it be safe and legal. For the concerns over abortions being safe, IACRA seems like a positive piece of legislation. It seems that those concerned about the well-being of women ought to be aware of the complications that arise from undergoing an abortion. Unfortunately, the act is being touted as stigmatizing medical care. The state has an interest in understanding the medical issues surrounding abortion. If the safety of women were really the pro-choice concern, supporting IACRA and RS26515 seems like an easy decision. Instead, it appears that ensuring easy and uninformed access to abortion is higher on the progressives’ priority list.