This article has been updated to add a response from Hannah Brass, Legislative Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest.
It’s officially over. The Idaho House has announced that it will not be holding a hearing on the forced ultrasound bill before the session ends this week, meaning that the bill is officially dead for 2012.
Via the Statesman:
“I spoke with the right-to-life people this morning,” [House State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher] said. “They agreed that there’s not much that can be done with the bill this year. … We will not be scheduling a hearing on it.”
Loertscher said of the bill, “The big problem that’s been identified is the mandatory ultrasound.” He said it presents a significant enough legal problem that it could cause a federal court to toss out Idaho’s entire existing informed-consent law for abortion. “We certainly don’t want to do damage to that,” he said.
Idaho Right to Life is vowing they will return the bill next year, possibly as one where the ultrasound isn’t mandatory, but simply mandating doctors tell the women seeking terminations that they “have the right” to view one if they choose.
But for now, reproductive rights advocates are happy to see the bill off the table for this year, and vow that when the bill returns, so will the pressure to block it. Hannah Brass, Legislative Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, said:
“We applaud those members of the legislature that stood against SB1387 and government intrusion into private medical decisions. The public made it clear that no matter where in the state they live and no matter where on the political spectrum they are, the government mandating an ultrasound for political reason, and not medical, is the very definition of government intrusion. Women, and men, in Idaho are watching and voting to ensure lawmakers know that this sort of mandate, that demeans and shames women, is not ok now or ever.”
The bill is believed to have stalled primarily due to both the concerns of local constituents and the national attention that the bill received from across the country.
In other words, thank you to all of you who called, emailed, tweeted or posted messages on Facebook about the Idaho forced ultrasound bill. You really did make a difference.