Red states like Idaho are the ones that should be infuriated with abortion ruling

·3 min read
Sarah A. Miller/smiller@idahostatesman.com

The U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is as bad as it possibly could be. Women in this country will no longer have agency over their own bodies.

Idaho Republican legislators, who passed a trigger law that will ban most abortions, will claim that this law protects victims of rape and incest. This is disingenuous and misleading about what the law really says. The only carve-out is for victims who have reported the rape or incest to police. What 13-year-old being raped by a relative is going to go to the police?

And it’s not just that: Only 25% of all rapes and sexual assaults in Idaho were reported to police in 2018, the most recent year data was available, according to the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.

The hypocrisy of the Supreme Court is stunning. Just this week, justices ruled against states putting certain restrictions on guns. But now, they decide that states can put restrictions on women’s health decisions.

It’s also a sad day that Americans’ “rights” are now apparently dependent on which president picks the justices.

The U.S. Supreme Court typically protects the rights of citizens. This opinion, however, marks the first time that a right, which has been established for nearly 50 years, will have been removed by the court.

We’re moving backward.

To all the women who support this court opinion, be careful. The birth control on which you depend is next. The agency you have stripped away from “others” will soon be lost to you.

Other rights very well may be on the chopping block. In his concurring opinion released Friday, Justice Clarence Thomas appallingly said the court should reconsider its past rulings on contraception access and same-sex marriage.

We are already hearing and will hear more from Idaho elected officials talking about supporting women and families. It sounds nice, but the Republican-dominated Idaho Legislature has a long history of doing the exact opposite. Public education spending is among the lowest in the nation. Efforts to provide family planning services and fact-based sex education are met with continued resistance. Medicaid, which provides health care to low-income women, had to be expanded by voter initiative because the Legislature refused to act.

It’s worth pointing out that this opinion was issued by a court with three justices appointed by a president who never won the popular vote and then tried to overthrow a free and fair election, and those three justices misled Congress by telling them they recognized Roe v. Wade as settled precedent and respected the concept of stare decisis (the principle of using precedent determining legal points).

It’s easy to think that the outrage over this opinion will be in “blue” states. But abortion will continue to be safe and legal in those states, as they rightly recognize the right of women to make their own health care decisions.

The outrage properly belongs in states like Idaho that advocate “freedom,” all while stripping rights away from one group after another.

Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion of the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. Board members are opinion editor Scott McIntosh, opinion writer Bryan Clark, editor Chadd Cripe, newsroom editors Dana Oland and Jim Keyser and community members Johanna Jones, Maryanne Jordan and Ben Ysursa.