BOISE -- House Republican leaders have pulled Senate Bill 1387, the proposed abortion ultrasound mandate, from Thursday's committee hearing.
The House State Affairs Committee had been set to debate the bill at 7:45 a.m.
But House Assistant Minority Leader Elfreda Higgins (D-Garden City) tells KTVB that the committee's chairman, Rep. Tom Loertscher (R-Iona), walked into her office at about 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday and told her the meeting had been canceled. Higgins says Loertscher then went back into a closed-door caucus.
The Associated Press reports that caucus involved Republicans debating the merits of the bill. When they emerged around 5 p.m., House Speaker Lawerence Denney said no decision had been made about whether the measure would move forward this session.
This comes just hours after actual ultrasounds were performed at the Statehouse.
There have been all sorts of testimonies and demonstrations in Statehouse committee room WW53, but none like Wendesday's. Six pregnant women underwent abdominal ultrasounds in a crowded room.
I gotta tell you, my initial response was alarm, said Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb (D-Boise). An ultrasound is something that's very personal and private. And I realize that they're probably trying to demystify it. But it's unfortunate to me, it seems like it's objectifying women.
The revelation of the truth is what I saw, said Rep. Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls). It's not anything that anybody should be afraid to see.
McGeachin helped a pro-life group set up the demonstration, as dozens came to show their support for what they say would provide vital information.
For women, knowledge is power, said McGeachin. Back in the early 2000s is when we started working on getting information available for women on this very important medical procedure.
But pro-choice groups, who also filled the committee room and the hallway outside, called this unnecessary government intrusion.
The government is inserting themselves, if you will, in the very personal and private lives of women, said Buckner-Webb. Women are capable, confident, run countries, run families, live very capably and dependably, make great decisions without government intervention.
The representatives also disagreed on whether this bill is part of a war on women.
There is a definitive war on women in this country and Idaho is no exception, said Buckner-Webb. To believe that someone should have dominion over my body is very offensive to me.
It's not a war on women, not in any way, said McGeachin. We cannot restrict a woman's right to do what she chooses with her body, however, we can do what we can to provide the best type of information to assist that woman to make that decision.