Abortion-Targeting Ultrasound Bill Passes Idaho House. One Dem Joins Republican Majority. 

"This is one more piece in a long line of legislation from this state that sends a message to women that we don't trust them to make decisions about their own lives without governmental intervention."

Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) told his colleagues in the Idaho House March 1 that House Bill 516requiring Idaho doctors to put a list of ultrasound providers into the hands of women seeking an abortion—is "a simple bill."

Nothing could have been further from the truth, as the House debated for the better part of an hour before Republican leadership, joined by one Democrat, Lewiston Rep. Dan Rudolph, approved the measure.

GOP lawmakers quoted the Bible and poetry in the fervent discussion.

"This bill is really about the Legislature not trusting women again, period," said Rep. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise). "This is one more piece in a long line of legislation from this state that sends a message to women that we don't trust them to make decisions about their own lives without governmental intervention."

The bill had already gained national attention when, during a Feb. 25 committee hearing, Rep. Pete Nielsen (R-Mountain Home) made the bizarre comment that he understood that "in many cases of rape, it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the situation." Days later, Nielsen apologized for his remarks but still insisted his statements were based on "prior information."

Nielsen sat quietly during the March 1 House debate as his Republican colleagues pushed for passage of the bill.

"This bill will only empower women more," argued Rep. Heather Scott (R-Blanchard). "This informs the mother that the piece of tissue inside her has hands, feet, eyes, looks like a baby and has a heartbeat."

With that, the controversial bill passed through the House along party lines, 56-13, with only Rudolph crossing the aisle to support the Republican-backed bill. The measure now heads to the Idaho Senate where it is expected to receive an equally emotional debate.

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