Bill overturning Idaho's telemedicine abortion ban advances in legislature

Posted at 10:08 AM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-06 19:18:36-05

A bill seeking to terminate a lawsuit between the State of Idaho and Planned Parenthood regarding a 2015 law regulating the performance of medical abortions has cleared an Idaho House panel. 

Women are currently banned from receiving abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine in Idaho.

Last year, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands sued the state, arguing the ban puts unnecessary burdens on women seeking safe abortions.

Representatives from Planned Parenthood spoke in partial favor of the bill as the legislation would ultimately overturn the Idaho laws preventing medical abortions from being performed in the state. 

"Ultimately, the effect of this bill is to undo medically unnecessary restrictions identified by the Supreme Court of the United States as unconstitutionally burdensome," Idaho Legislative Director for Planned Parenthood Mistie Tolman said. "We do want to strenuously object to the legislative findings portion of the bill, most specifically, the assertion that telemedicine is in any way substandard." 

David Ripley of Idaho Chooses Life introduced the legislation telling the panel Idaho cannot win in court due to "stipulated facts." 

"Make no mistake, I believe that I speak for the pro-life community in saying that telemed abortion is a terrible tragedy for Idaho," Ripley said. "It is my sad duty, Mr. Chairman, to ask this committee to support House Bill 250 in order to preserve our options going forward."

The House State Affairs Committee voted 12-3 to send the legislation to the House floor for a vote.