Opposing Idaho's SB1085: The 6 Week Abortion Ban

Today, the Senate State Affairs Committee heard Senate Bill 1085, a bill that would essentially ban abortions in Idaho. The Committee voted along party lines to send the bill to the Senate Floor. Legal Voice Litigation Coordinator Chelsea Gaona Lincoln testified remotely today on why Legal Voice opposes this bill, and modeled strength and vulnerability in sharing her own personal story and the potential implications of this bill. Get more information on the bill here.

Good morning, Chairman and committee,

I’m Chelsea Gaona Lincoln, lifetime resident of Idaho, residing in District10, but grew up in Wilder, testifying on behalf of Legal Voice, an organization dedicated to the protection and progress of women and LGBTQ+ rights. We are adamantly against SB1085.

It’s important to point out that in the midst of a global pandemic this bill actually harms women’s health - especially the health of women of color:

  1. We know that women of color experience higher rates of unintended pregnancy (due to inadequate access to family planning services, sexual health education and all other resources- especially in such a rural state like ours. Folks are already a great distance away from medical care they need- reproductive care is even more difficult to access;

  2. Rates of maternal mortality and morbidity among women of color in the United States are unparalleled in the developed world- there are issues of oppression rooted in racism that need addressed in the field and this bill does not address those needs;

  3. This bill would force pregnant people to carry pregnancies to term against their will (many- before they even know they’re pregnant).

The concern for healthy families and communities should lead to an increase in access and health care, including all forms of reproductive health, not restrict it.

This is wasteful spending on defending an unconstitutional bill and is a blatant attack on anyone that can become pregnant.
You can not and will never be able to eliminate abortion care, the only outcome of this extreme legislation is putting pregnant people at risk.

Let me say that again, you cannot ban abortion, you simply make it drastically unsafe.

Redirect your attention and Idaho’s funds into prioritizing proven increase health outcomes and promote healthy, planned pregnancies.

On a personal note, as a sexual assault survivor, of someone I knew and believed trustworthy at the time, while under the age of 16, I waited in agony -beyond six weeks for my cycle to come back regularly, it was terrifying. I didn’t speak of this rape and it’s impact on my life until long after college. Had I ended up pregnant-this horrific bill would have placed additional barriers in my ways of my body autonomy and making decisions that were deeply personal and do not belong in the hands of those looking to restrict my ability to make medical choices for myself. I would have without a doubt, sought out the support and trusted services of the unbiased medical experts of folks like Planned Parenthood. Which is my right and should be any pregnant person’s choice.

Many years later, part of my planned pregnancy over three years ago came with appointments and partially holding our breath until the 20 week mark when an in depth ultrasound was done to ensure the heart chambers of the fetus were developing properly and other major developing organs.(I’m not a medical provider, but I remember how big that event was). We made it past that milestone and began allowing ourselves to become excited. There’s a reason many couples wait until after the 12 week mark and that 20 week appointment to announce that they are expecting. That is the realistic timeline my spouse and I were using for considerations in determining the viability of our pregnancy. And it is the same timeline we will use in the future when planning to expand our family.

Chairman and senators, you each have a duty and purpose to serve all those that live in Idaho – these extreme measures will not help or support the thriving of healthy families and communities.

Vote no on SB1085.