U.S. Rep. Mike Crapo and Sen.Larry Craig are backing a bill to make it illegal to transport minors across state lines to obtain abortions if they haven't complied with laws requiring parental consent or notification in their home states.
Abortions needed to save the life of the minor because of a physical disorder, injury or illness would be exempt under the legislation.
Idaho requires a parent be notified if possible before a minor can obtain an abortion. Republican Gov. Phil Batt vetoed legislation requiring a parent or judge's approval before minors could obtain abortions earlier this year.
Twenty-two states require parental consent before minors may obtain abortions, while 17 others mandate parental notification. Washington state has neither requirement, while Montana requires parental notification.
Crapo, an Idaho Republican seeking outgoing U.S. Sen. Dirk Kempthorne's seat, co-sponsored Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's bill last week at the request of a number of his constituents, said Crapo's spokeswoman,
The bill cleared a House subcommittee Thursday.
"It does not interfere with any existing state laws,'' she said Monday. "It does not impose any parental notice or consent requirements on the states."
The legislation prohibits and sets penalties for transporting an individual under the age of 18 across the state line to avoid laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions, Wheeler said.
Violators could face a prison term of up to a year and/or a fine.
Crapo's Democratic opponent, Boise lawyer Bill Mauk, said he opposes the legislation, while Crapo has a long-standing record of opposing the right of women to make independent decisions about reproduction.
"Mr. Crapo is completely out of step with the Constitution and with the desires of the people of this state who he purports to represent,'' Mauk said. "Mr. Crapo is nothing more than an extremist who wants to impose his moral agenda on the women and families of Idaho."
Mauk predicted the bill, which has 125 co-sponsors, has no chance of going anywhere.
"It's another example of election-year pandering to the extreme right."
Crapo's campaign manager, Will Hollier, said Crapo has a strong pro-life voting record that started when he served in the Legislature.
"First of all, Mike Crapo is not an extremist,'' he said. "His views are consistent with a majority of the voters in the state. Mike Crapo has consistently won (in the 2nd Congressional District) with an average of 70 percent since going to Congress. I think Mr. Mauk is with an anemic 30 percent of the radical liberals in this state."
Republican 1st District Congressman Helen Chenoweth hasn't co-sponsored the bill because she hasn't had a chance to read it, said her spokesman, Chad Hyslop.
U.S. Sen. Larry Craig agreed to co-sponsor a similar bill proposed by Michigan Republican Spencer Abraham four months ago. The measure has 24 co-sponsors and is expected to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee in the next few weeks.
"It deals with parental consent and the reason that Senator Craig has signed onto it is because he believes parents should be part of that process and should be notified in case of this type of procedure or any other type of medical procedure,'' said his spokesman, Mike Tracy.
U.S. Sen. Dirk Kempthorne will likely favor the bill, although he hasn't had the chance to review it carefully, said his spokesman, Mark Snider.
Kempthorne, the Republican candidate for governor, has said he is willing to help develop a compromise bill to require a parent or judge's consent before minors may obtain abortions in Idaho. He has expressed general support for requiring parental approval before minors may obtain prescription drugs, including birth control pills.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert Huntley, a Boise lawyer, opposes both ideas.