State funding for abortions ban signed into law; Planned Parenthood reacts
“We are not going anywhere.”
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Capping off a legislative session in which several highly debated bills were passed by both chambers, the latest to be signed into law was House Bill 220, which would ban state funding for abortions or anyone affiliated with abortion services.
“This bill is about funding, about state funding and what we do with taxpayers’ money,” said Senator Christy Zito (R, District 23). “Many Idahoans and many people in our country, whether they support the idea of abortion or not feel that public money should not be spent on it.”
Opponents have criticized the legislation, stating it’s in violation of the Casey v Planned Parenthood ruling, which deemed any regulation that imposes “substantial obstacles” preventing a woman from getting a legal abortion is an “undue burden” that violates a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.
“I believe this legislation unconstitutionally burdens the ability of women in Idaho to obtain abortions,” said Sen. Grant Burgoyne (D, District 16). “That is their decision. That’s not a decision the government should make for them, nor is it a decision that the government should burden.”
Currently, Idaho has three facilities where abortions are performed. Those three are all Planned Parenthood Facilities in Southern Idaho. Despite what they feel have been attempts by the Legislature to scare people into thinking they will no longer operate, Planned Parenthood had one message they wanted to make clear.
“Look, we’ve been in Idaho since 1972,” said Planned Parenthood Great Northwest COO Rebecca Gibron. “We are not going anywhere.”
There is also concern about the domino effect of facilities providing low-cost healthcare losing funding.
“We serve over 10,000 patients a year in our three health centers,” Gibron said. “We provide over 17,000 cancer screenings and STD screenings per year.”
According to Planned Parenthood, this law would reduce access to essential reproductive healthcare to the Idahoans most in need, including people of color, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community and individuals who live in rural locations.
Some pro-life groups believe there are alternatives, however.
“So, there are ways we think to improve the healthcare system while ending the taxpayers’ relationship with Planned Parenthood,” said Idaho Chooses Life Executive Director David Ripley. “This law is a very important step forward in terms of trying to figure out ways to stop taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and their agenda.”
On Governor Brad Little’s decision to sign the bill into law, his office told KMVT:
“Governor Little has always been pro-life. His goal is to protect the sanctity of life and support the bill’s intent to prohibit the use of public funds for abortion.”
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