The Idaho House State Affairs Committee has passed a bill that would ban race- and sex-related abortions.
Rep. Steve Kren, R-Nampa, sponsored the bill, which passed on a party-line vote in committee. Five Democrats — all women — voted against the measure. The 13 Republicans on the committee — all men — voted for it.
“It’s not something that I know of that is a problem, but it is something I feel we should protect against,” Kren said. “There has been research that shows there is the possibility of sex selection during abortions.”
Under the bill, it would be a felony to provide or have an abortion based on sex or race. Someone that knows a woman is having an abortion based on race or sex and did not report it would be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Kren told lawmakers that the legislation was brought to him from a gentleman from Eagle, though he didn’t offer specifics on that man’s identity, and Kren said he felt the issue is one that should be explored by lawmakers. Kren said that when the bill receives a full hearing, he will bring in evidence that shows this practice is occurring. When asked by Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, if the practice is prevalent in Idaho, Kren replied that he wasn’t sure, but said he is bringing the legislation to spark a debate and discussion among lawmakers.
Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, asked Kren about what would happen if an African-American man raped a woman, which could lead to the abortion decision being based on race. Kren told King and committee members that the state already has laws that protect the woman involved in cases of rape or incest.
Idaho is not the only state considering making it illegal to have or perform race- or sex-based abortions. The Georgia House is expected to vote on a bill that would make it a felony, punishable by 10 years in jail, if a physician performed an abortion for a patient who discloses the reasons are due to the sex or race of the fetus.