Idaho Senate Passes Bill to Protect Conscience Rights of Pro-Life Medical Workers

by Steven Ertelt


Boise, ID ( — An Idaho state Senate committee approved a bill today that would create statutory protections for health care professionals in specific areas of medical practice. The Senate State Affairs committee voted 6-3 to send SB 1353 to the Senate floor with a recommendation that the Senate pass it.

The legislation makes it so pro-life health care workers don’t have to fear for their jobs if they decide they don’t want to dispense drugs that could be used to cause abortions or kill patients at the end of their life.

David Ripley, the director of Idaho Chooses Life, talked more about the passage of the pro-life bill.

“Opposition to the bill came largely from the abortion lobby because of their fears that it will create impediments to easy distribution of so-called emergency contraception,” he said. “Much of the morning debate was taken up with a debate of how the drug works.”

“Oddly enough, the debate was settled by the closing testimony of retired abortionist Duane St. Clair, who acknowledged that emergency contraception can sometimes cause the destruction of an embryo by making the uterine wall inhospitable to the new human life,” he added.

Idaho Right to Life and the Catholic Diocese of Boise supported the legislation along with ICL and Dr. Will Rainford, representing Bishop Driscoll, emphasized the spiritual gravity of forcing Christian medical personnel to participate in medical procedures they know to be wrong.

Sen. Chuck Winder, a Republican from Eagle, is the lead sponsor of the measure.

“It really is an issue dealing with the right of an individual to exercise their right of conscience,” he told the panel, according to the Idaho Reporter. “The intent of this legislation is not to restrict or limit, in any way, health care services to women or men in Idaho.”

Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly, D-Boise, opposed the plan as did Marty Durand with Planned Parenthood of Idaho and Taryn Magrini, public policy director for the Idaho Women’s Network.

The measure receive the votes of six Republicans: Chairman Curt McKenzie, Pro Tem Geddes, Sens. Bart Davis, Russ Fulcher, Monty Pearce and Denton Darrington supported the measure.

Republican Sen. Joe Stegner (R-Lewiston) joined Democrats Kelly and Stennett in opposing the bill.