SPOKANE, Wash. — Lawmakers have found it is a difficult task to get any new abortion restrictions passed in Washington and Idaho.
Dissention on the topic of abortion is as strong in the Inland Northwest as anywhere else in the country, as eight states have passed new restrictions on abortions.
Alabama, essentially, banned abortions. Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio passed legislation that prohibits abortion after six to eight weeks, when a doctor could start to detect a heartbeat in a fetus.
Some might be wondering if Washington and Idaho lawmakers are next to revise their respective state’s abortion laws.
Washington Representative Brad Klippert co-sponsored a recent bill to end the practice of abortions. Klippert acknowledged it would not be easy.
"It would certainly be an uphill climb, but it's a climb worth taking. I think everything is possible and if I didn't think it was possible then I wouldn't have signed my name on to it," Klippert said.
Three years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe V. Wade, the landmark decision which allows a woman to choose to have an abortion, Washington state voters approved legislation to legalize abortion.
Voters reaffirmed their stance by passing Initiative 120 in 1991. The legislation included services to low-income women.
In 2018, Washington state lawmakers approved the Reproductive Parity Act. It requires health insurance companies to cover abortions.
Over the years, some Idaho state lawmakers have tried and failed to end abortion in their state.
Most recently, Idaho Representatives Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, and John Green, R-Post Falls, proposed the Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act.
“Idaho has an exception in the murder code which allows abortion. The bill would remove that exception, treating abortion like any other homicide,” Scott said.
The Abortion Human Rights Act was denied a print hearing by the Chairman of the Idaho House State Affairs Committee.
Scott said she believes it is difficult to pass this type of legislation because some lawmakers are uncomfortable equating abortion to murder and they some see it as a healthcare issue.
“It will take an open debate in the full legislature to reveal where Idaho’s true conscience is on this important issue. This will only start with a heart and attitude change,” Scott said.