Idaho Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Bill Appears Finished for This Year

March 29, 2012 — On Tuesday, the sponsor of an Idaho bill (SB 1387) that would mandate ultrasounds before abortions said he would not schedule a committee hearing on the measure, meaning it is likely finished for this year, the AP/Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Rep. Tom Loertscher (R) cited several unresolved issues with the bill but noted that its supporters want to "make another run at this next year." Loertscher said there was too little time left in the session to address House Republicans' concerns that the bill was an intrusion into women's lives (Miller, AP/BusinessWeek, 3/27).

Loertscher also said he was concerned that a legal challenge to an ultrasound law could undermine the state's existing "informed consent" law, which requires that women seeking abortion care receive brochures about fetal development and other materials.

There had been some discussion about an amendment that would have replaced the mandatory ultrasound with a requirement that abortion providers inform women about the availability of no-cost ultrasounds at clinics, Loertscher said (Popkey, Idaho Statesman, 3/28). Other amendments under consideration would have added an exemption for medical emergencies and clarified that a vaginal ultrasound was not required.

Monica Hopkins, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, said, "Politicians and legislators saw this as government intrusion and had a problem with mandating something that was a clear overreach and didn't adhere to the constitutional principles of equality and liberty" (AP/Bloomberg Businessweek, 3/27).