BOISE - For Idaho's House Republicans, being pro-life doesn't mean supporting an ultrasound mandate.
That was the message legislators had today after canceling a Thursday public hearing on a bill that would require women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion. The move came hours after protests against the legislation and a live ultrasound demonstration by supporters of the bill, which passed the Senate on a 23-12 vote on Monday.
After a closed-door caucus, House State Affairs chairman Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said the move doesn't mean the bill is dead, but that he couldn't guarantee he would schedule a public hearing.
Though the bill had strong Republican support in the Senate, some House members were swayed by constituent feedback and protests.
Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, said he had asked Republican women in his district what they thought of the mandate. Of the 12 who responded, only one supported the bill, he said. Some were concerned about a government mandate, while others didn't like what they saw as a privacy violation, Hartgen said.
Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, said the response from constituents affected her colleagues' decision.
"Most of the people they're hearing from are disturbed about the mandate and the... interference between a woman and her physician," Bell said.
For more on this story, read Thursday's Times-News.