Idaho GOP legislators voted to ban abortion, they should deal with the consequences

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

Once the Supreme Court officially overturns Roe v. Wade, that triggers Idaho’s law that bans most abortions.

Surely, though, no one seriously thinks that unwanted pregnancies will suddenly disappear.

When Idaho’s ban goes into effect, Idaho women with unwanted pregnancies will have a couple of choices. Many will simply leave the state to get a legal abortion elsewhere, in Oregon, Washington or Nevada. Some, unfortunately, will seek an illegal and unsafe abortion in Idaho.

Faced with no other options, others may indeed be compelled to carry a pregnancy to full term and deliver a baby.

What then?

If Idaho legislators are truly so concerned about preserving life, they should put their money where their mouth is and pass legislation in the upcoming session that would help these new mothers.

Child care tax credits or vouchers would be a good start, especially for those single mothers who will need to go to work to feed their baby.

Raise the minimum wage so that new mothers can actually earn a living wage that will provide for her and her baby.

Approve caregiver tax credits for grandfathers and grandmothers who will now have a new baby to help take care of.

Expand Medicaid even further to provide health care to new mothers and their babies.

Put money in the Idaho Housing Trust Fund to help low-income mothers find affordable housing.

Allow cities to regulate rental application fees.

Change Idaho’s virtually flat income tax rates so that low-income families don’t pay practically the same rate as someone earning $1 million a year.

Expand Head Start and launch preschool programs to get these new babies ready for kindergarten.

Make kindergarten mandatory statewide. If a new mother lives in a school district that doesn’t offer kindergarten, that child will fall behind.

Expand sex education in public schools to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Require health insurance companies to provide at least six months’ supply of prescribed contraceptives for enrollees. This was in a bill passed by the Senate this session but shot down by the House.

These ideas are a good start, and certainly there’s even more the Legislature could do.

If Idaho’s Republican legislators really do care about these babies, they should now focus their attention on what happens after they’re born.

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.