On Tuesday, the Idaho House passed a bill that would prevent any public funding from going to health care practitioners who perform or provide counsel on abortion care.
The bill, HB 525, “would bar all public funding to any entity — including schools, public health departments and other health care providers — if anyone associated with the entity provides an abortion, assists someone in getting an abortion, or even counsels a patient that abortion is an option they could seek out,” per the Associated Press.
It makes exceptions for hospitals, threats to the pregnant person’s life, and when Medicaid is involved since it is a federal program. The Hyde Amendment already prevents federal funding from being used for abortion services, but this legislature would prevent any public funds from being dispersed to providers who even discuss abortion with their patients, potentially robbing them of the money needed to provide cancer screenings, contraception, and other kinds of health care.
Democratic Rep. Chris Mathias opposed the legislation on the grounds that it could rob thousands of Idaho residents of health care services.
“Idaho is a state with healthcare shortages,” said Mathias. “We don’t have enough primary care physicians. We don’t have enough nurses. We don’t have enough hospitals in the right places. We don’t have enough beds. We don’t have enough people with health insurance or enough health insurance to get them the adequate care that they need.”
According to the Idaho Statesman, “Of Idaho’s 44 counties, only three — Ada and Twin Falls and Valley — have abortion providers. Planned Parenthood operates clinics in Boise, Meridian and Twin Falls, and a private doctor provides them in Boise and McCall.”
“Currently, Planned Parenthood does not take any state money. There are reimbursements from Medicaid that go to services such as cancer screenings, gynecological exams and other health services,” Rep. Melissa Wintrow said, arguing that there are already measures in place to prevent public funds being used for abortion care.
The bill is set to go to the state Senate next for a vote.