On Monday, Idaho's Republican governor, Brad Little, signed a bill into law defunding abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.
House Bill 220, titled "No Public Funds for Abortion Act," not only defunds abortion providers but also prevents them from receiving contracts from school districts and public colleges to teach sex education.
Public colleges and universities are also prohibited from supplying abortifacient drugs to end a pregnancy post-conception.
According to conservative activist group Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, these kinds of drugs are currently offered at Boise State University, the University of Idaho and Idaho State University through their student health centers.
The legislation, however, allows exceptions for publicly funded hospitals and abortions funded with Medicaid.
The bill's signing was praised by Family Policy Alliance of Idaho Executive Director Blaine Conzatti.
"Defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers was one of our top priorities when [the] legislative session began earlier this year," Conzatti said in a statement emailed to The Christian Post.
"Idahoans don't want their state or local governments sending their hard-earned money to abortion providers — and they certainly don't want abortionists providing services and promoting abortion in our public schools and universities," he continued.
Conzatti contended that abortion "should never be subsidized with our tax dollars" and "Idaho public school students should never learn about sexuality from the abortion industry."
"The No Public Funds for Abortion Act protects students, vulnerable women, and hard-working taxpayers from the 'Big Abortion' lobby," he explained. "We are excited that Gov. Brad Little signed this important pro-life reform that protects taxpayer assets from abortion providers who have benefitted from government largesse for too long."
In March, the bill passed the state House of Representatives by a vote of 55-14, with three Republicans and 11 Democrats voting against the measure.
Republican Rep. Bruce Skaug, one of the bill's sponsors, explained that it is meant to prevent taxpayer-funded abortions, the Associated Press reports.
"The bill defunds abortion so your tax dollars and mine are not used directly or indirectly for any type of abortion or referral for such services," Skaug said. "If I could stop Medicaid funds from going to abortion, I would."
On the other hand, opponents of the legislation warned it would prevent many women from getting cancer screenings, birth control and additional health care because of abortion providers being shut down.
"Idaho is a state with healthcare shortages," Democratic Rep. Chris Mathias said. "We don't have enough primary care physicians. We don't have enough nurses. We don't have enough hospitals in the right places. We don't have enough beds. We don't have enough people with health insurance or enough health insurance to get them the adequate care that they need," he asserted.
The bill also forbids the city of Boise from contracting with organizations that provide abortion-related services following a transitional report issued to Mayor Lauren McLean last year recommending that the city offer free contraception, abortion and reproductive healthcare to all of its residents.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Michael M. Santiago/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.