Statement Condemning Silencing of Dissenting Opinions on Hearing for Idaho Senate Bill 1183
For Immediate Release: March 17, 2021 (Updated: March 17, 2021, 1:30 p.m.)
BOISE — The undersigned nonprofit organizations strongly condemn the actions of Idaho Senate State Affairs Chair Patti Anne Lodge this morning during the public hearing for Senate Bill 1183, a bill that would enact an extreme six-week ban on abortion with a mandatory transvaginal ultrasound.
Despite dozens of people who woke up early to testify remotely against this bill, Sen. Lodge selectively chose to allow only a few people to testify, citing time constraints as a reason; however, all testimonies but one encompassed anti-abortion extremist opinions. Nevertheless, she took a few minutes herself to congratulate and thank the anti-abortion people for testifying.
Lauren Bramwell, Policy Strategist, ACLU of Idaho:
“Today’s hearing undermined state legitimacy. This was not a public hearing—it was a public echo chamber. The chair allowed testimony from numerous people affiliated with the same anti-choice clinic, but refused to hear testimony from organizations including Add the Words, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU of Idaho. We implore members of the Idaho legislature to commit to fair and effective legislative processes and to aggressively seek public input. What we saw today couldn’t have been further from that ideal. SB 1183 is incredibly harmful and voices in opposition deserve to be heard. Outside of the bill being clearly unconstitutional, it spits in the face of maternal health and imposes felony liability on abortion providers who provide ethical, necessary care to patients. This iteration of the 6-week abortion ban is particularly heinous due to its narrowing of the rape and incest exemption, which now mandates survivors to report to law enforcement in order to qualify for the exemption.”
Mistie DelliCarpini-Tolman, Idaho State Director, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaiʻi:
“This is an overt silencing of people who were there to advocate for the rights of pregnant patients, the physicians who oppose this bill, and anyone whose opinion doesn’t align with those of Sen. Lodge. This is not how democracy works. We call on Sen. Lodge to use her position as chair of the committee to facilitate and encourage active participation in civic engagement, instead of discouraging it by not allowing those who want to participate to be heard. It is disheartening to listen to overwhelming testimony against your stance on a bill while knowing your voice and dozens of others are not being heard. Fair and equal access to civic engagement should always take priority over ideology. Our state legislature should work for the people.”
Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln, Litigation Support Coordinator, Legal Voice:
“We are disappointed in the actions taken by Chairperson Patti Ann Lodge, and the by rest of the Senate State Affairs Committee, for not holding this hearing to the same standards as other committees, where testimony happens in a pro/con format, and where ample time is provided for the public testify, often going into a second day of testimony. Today’s actions show the extremes to which this Legislature is willing to go to silence the voices of those who disagree with them. It is painfully clear that this is no longer the People’s House. We expect this despicable display of unbecoming behavior to be publicly addressed and remedied by the Legislature.”
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai‘i (PPVNH) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating residents and policy-makers about reproductive health issues in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Hawai‘i. PPVNH lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood's mission and also engages in limited electoral activities.
Legal Voice is a progressive feminist organization using the power of the law to make positive change for women, girls, and LGBTQ people in the Northwest. Legal Voice uses ground-breaking litigation, legislative advocacy, and community education to fight gender oppression and injustice. More at http://legalvoice.org.
The ACLU of Idaho is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Idaho strives to advance civil liberties and civil rights through activities that include litigation, education and lobbying. Learn more at http://acluidaho.org
Add the Words, Idaho is a statewide, volunteer run organization that is committed to providing educational outreach and community organizing that is centered on equality for all Idahoans with a focus of gender and queer justice. Learn more at addthewords.org.