The latest salvo in the culture wars was launched in the 2015 legislative session with HB 88. The bill, just printed, can be found in the House State Affairs Committee. Specifically, the bill makes it a requirement for a woman to get a drug induced abortion only if she consults a doctor face to face. Not surprisingly, all Republicans in Committee voted to print the bill. All Democrats opposed it.
The traditional groups have lined up on opposite sides of the issue. Rural Republicans in both the House and Senate and conservative firebrand Lynn Luker all support the measure. Democrats, by all accounts, view it as another example of the “war on women.” Idaho Chooses Life helped draft and sponsor the bill while Planned Parenthood, NARAL and a new group, Better Idaho, oppose it.
What is ironic about the bill is that it is not an overreach. The FDA, run by a political appointee appointed by a President who once voted “present” on live birth abortions in the Illinois legislature already recommends such policy. Let me repeat, the FDA already recommends that people consult physicians before they take drugs inducing abortions.
So far, the bill has yet to provoke a large reaction. Neither did the infamous SB 1387 when it was first printed. But soon after the bill was introduced in Committee and put on the Senate floor Idaho temporarily became the center of the abortion debate in America. Ultimately the bill died when the House refused to take up the measure amid widespread public opposition.
But I don’t see a comparison between HB 88 and SB 1387. SB 1387 would have required an invasive medical procedure known as a transvaginal ultrasound to be performed to meet requirements in the bill. No such procedure is required in HB 88.
Rather, HB 88 seems to just codify existing FDA recommendations into state law. No doubt proponents will try to turn this into a debate over government interfering in “choice” but I don’t see how when one looks at this logically.
Consider these factoids. To get a prescription for any regular kind of contraception you need to see/consult a doctor. To get over the counter pain-meds, again, you must see a doctor for a prescription. To get referred to say an ENT, you guessed it, you need to see another doctor. So why are abortions so sacrosanct that women need not consult a physician when they choose to use an abortion inducing drug The answer; choice is everything. All the other stuff, eh, doesn’t matter. But choice man.
Now, I do understand worries over women not having access to doctors in rural areas. That is a real concern and a valid one. But, it still does not explain why these drugs should be the exception. Again, to get a prescription these individuals still need a doctor’s okay on many other major drugs. Odds are good they somehow have made that work even in rural areas.
So, when everything is added up I actually don’t have a problem with this bill. Women have to go see a doctor for just about everything. Nothing makes drug induced abortions an exception to this rule. Again, the FDA even agrees.
Not that it matters to the choice crowd. I am sure they will rail against the bill as government getting in between women and their personal choice but you know what? Government does that all the time anyways (see above about over the counter drugs). From a policy perspective it will be interesting to see if this bill passes or dies like the SB 1387.
Personally, I hope it does pass.