Here is a statement I shared this morning at the Idaho Capitol against Senate Bill 1404. It is the “Idaho Unborn Dignity Act”, which would effectively make it illegal for women to get pregnant in order to have an abortion so they could make money by selling their baby parts for medical research. An important, and pertinent fact before we begin: Planned Parenthood in Idaho is NOT selling fetal tissue for research, even though it is a legal act and such tissue could be used to do important medical research.
The 4 Democratic members of the House State Affairs Committee chose to skip this morning’s committee meeting where they were taking up this bill. Instead, they gathered with a number of people to call out the hypocrisy of politicians who claim to be concerned with “dignity” and who claim to be “pro-life”, all while ignoring actual needs of real Idahoans. I am thankful for their willingness to stand up to a broken and absurd legislature that privileges special interests over actual people.
Here is my statement from this morning.
I’ve testified many times before the House State Affairs Committee, and every time, they have voted against my testimony, often because of their religious convictions. They claim, loudly and proudly, to be pro-life.
Their legislative record, however, shows they have a limited understanding of the term.
They appear to be “pro-birth”, not “pro-life”.
This session, while they have passed even more laws to restrict women’s access to legal, medically safe health care, in the name of life, they have squandered a myriad options to have supported and improve the lives of actual Idahoans who are alive today.
They refused to even consider Adding the Words, which would bring safety and security to gay, lesbian, and transgender Idahoans who can be fired, denied housing and public accommodation, or harassed on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. How about we be pro-life for them?
They refused to close the medicaid gap, which would improve the lives of at least 78,000 Idahoans who currently do not have access to affordable medical care. They keep talking about “studying” the issue while people are dying for lack of access to medical care. How about we pass a pro-life bill that extends health care coverage.
They not only refused to consider raising Idaho’s minimum wage, they made it illegal for communities in Idaho to do so. Studies have clearly shown that raising people’s wages to a threshold where they can get by on their own improves the quality of their lives on every measure, strengthens the economy for everyone, and provides dignity to people who can get ahead without need of government assistance. Raising Idaho’s minimum wage would be a pro-life decision that this legislature will not consider.
While claiming to be pro-life out one side of their mouth, they passed a permit-less concealed carry bill, allowing all of Idahoans lives to be less secure while guns appear to be of more value than people’s well being and safety.
I’m a big fan of scripture. I read it every day. And inside the pages of my bible, I find instructions at every turn, telling us to care for the poor, the hungry, the widows, the orphans. Rather than pass legislation that would be pro-life as scripture instructs us to be, the legislative majority in this state, instead passed a law “expressly permitting” the teaching of the Bible in public schools, an unconstitutional and unnecessary bill that will cost the state even more money in court fights, no matter what the “little supreme courts in their heads” want to make them believe.
Like the bill the committee is hearing today, it is time spent on another solution in search of a problem, while actual problems are devastating the lives of actual Idahoans. This is the people’s house. I don’t know how much longer the majority party can continue to deny the needs of the people, obstruct the will of the people, and harm the lives of the people. We deserve better from the people elected to serve us.