Updated: Jan 5, 2022
The following story appeared in the December 17 Idaho Catholic Register.
By Christian Welp
It is hard to believe that the next legislative session is just around the corner. I do have to confess there have been years in the past that I have dreaded the thought at this time of year of having to be at the Capitol nearly every day for what is typically a three-month session.
This year, however, is very different. I could not be more excited for the session to begin. The reason for my excitement is the Fetal Heartbeat Bill. That bill, which passed during the last legislative session, bans abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected, around five or six weeks after conception.
With the indispensable help of Blaine Conzatti of the Idaho Family Policy Center, we passed the heartbeat bill (HB 366) through the House and Senate and Gov. Brad Little signed it into law. Idaho became the 13th state to pass a heartbeat bill. It was signed into law on April 27, shortly before a similar bill passed in Texas.
The difference between the Idaho heartbeat law and the law in Texas is how the law is enforced. The Idaho law includes criminal penalties for the abortion provider that would be upheld by the state of Idaho.
The Texas law took a different and unique approach allowing private individuals to uphold the law by suing abortion providers for preforming an abortion after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.
Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to allow the Texas law to stand while it makes its way through legal challenges at the district court level. Our plan in Idaho is to make adjustments to our law to correspond to the Texas law.
Soon, we hope to see here in Idaho what they are now experiencing in Texas: an end to nearly all abortions! The song “Oh, Happy Day” comes to mind and fills my heart with joy even as I am writing this.
But wait, there’s more …
Toward the end of the last session, Blaine Conazatti and I were discussing how we did not want to run any big “social” issues next year. Well, as the saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
The next piece of legislation we are working on is our “bathroom bill.” Obviously, we need to come up with a different name before the session starts.
Last summer, the U.S. Department of Education expanded its interpretation of protections for transgender students in public schools.
Public schools are to require that transgender students have access to restrooms and locker rooms that match what they believe to be their gender identity but may not be their biological gender, and to allow students to dress in a way that matches their gen-der identity.
Our schools need to be safe places, and that includes bathrooms and locker rooms. Our children, especially our girls, should not have to worry about who is going to be in the bathroom or locker room with them. We do not want an incident like that which occurred in Loudoun County, Virginia, where a 15-year-old girl was assaulted in a girls’ bathroom by a biological boy claiming gender fluidity.
Another reason for my excitement for this session is the support we already have from our legislators for both of these bills.
The chairs of the Senate and House State Affairs Committees, Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Caldwell, and Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, support the legislation and have agreed to have their committees hear these bills.
Having this support from our legislators is a great blessing and helps to make the process smoother.
The last thing necessary for a successful session is your support and prayers.
To learn more about the work we are doing feel free to reach out to me at any time at email@example.com.
Welp is Director of Diocesan Projects for the Diocese of Boise as well as legislative liaison for the Diocese.
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