By the time Idaho's Legislature convenes in January, President Donald Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court will provide a 5-4 majority to overturn Roe v. Wade.

And if you think the anti-abortion rights crowd in Boise won't seize on that opportunity, you haven't been paying attention.

Across the years, Idaho's GOP lawmakers have proposed and in many cases approved of the following:

  • Requiring women in the early stages of their pregnancy to submit to a vaginal ultrasound - what some critics adroitly called government-sponsored rape.
  • Subjecting women to felony criminal prosecution if they obtained an abortion at home. It happened to Jennie Linn McCormack of Pocatello, who was prosecuted for terminating her pregnancy with RU-486.
  • Forcing women to wait 24, 48 or even 72 hours to get an abortion - and only then after they've been compelled to read inaccurate brochures suggesting anyone who has an abortion faces an increased risk of breast cancer, suicide or even being murdered.
  • Outlawing late-term abortions - even those necessary to save the woman's life - with language so broad that it wound up applying to virtually any abortion.
  • Outlawing abortions at an earlier stage in the pregnancy in the guise of "fetal pain" or "fetal heartbeat."
  • In the name of parental consent, erasing a minor's right to abortion unless she was willing to have her sexual partner prosecuted for statutory rape.
  • All but giving the woman's husband or sexual partner a veto over her abortion by enabling him to sue any provider who fails to meet any of the state's requirements.
  • Stopping a rape victim from obtaining an abortion if the alleged rapist challenges her accusation.

Standing in the way of all of that was the 1973 Supreme Court standard.

Idaho's anti-abortion lobbyists managed to nibble around the edges - and for all intents and purposes, abortion services are not available throughout much of the state.

But any time lawmakers went too far toward placing an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion, the federal courts struck it down as unconstitutional.

That's what happened in the parental consent and McCormack cases.

So far, the state has shelled out more than $900,000 to attorneys who successfully challenged Idaho's anti-abortion laws in the federal courts.

All of which has produced a weird political dance in Boise.

Some abortion bills never get far because they are so patently doomed to defeat in the courts.

Others - even those that are sloppily drafted - win passage because lawmakers can have the best of both worlds. Voting yes endears them to the anti-abortion rights lobby - without alienating anyone on the other side because the bill obviously won't pass constitutional muster.

Overturn Roe and all that changes.

With the judicial backstop gone, abortion becomes a political issue in each state Legislature.

Suddenly, anything is possible.

Access to safe and legal abortions could disappear in Idaho. If Moscow Republican Sen. Dan "Don't piss him off" Foreman prevails, any woman who goes ahead and gets an abortion anyway will be prosecuted for first-degree murder.

Don't like those prospects?

You might want to reconsider the way you've been voting. - M.T.

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