David James

Nothing accentuates the importance of voting more than what is happening in Idaho. Idaho’s supermajority passed one of the most reprehensible anti-abortion laws in America. Idaho is not alone. Legislatures throughout the country are passing laws that make it almost impossible for the people they represent to live their lives. Montana could be next.

State legislatures are passing anti-abortion laws, anti-trans laws, and laws that make it more difficult for us to vote. Which is why it is extremely important for voters to be educated and put people in office that represent them, not people that simply toe the party line. The Supreme Court in the Dobbs case has opened the flood gates by making it easier for state legislatures to pass laws that reduce citizens’ rights.

Idaho has made it a crime to perform an abortion. Other states have also done this; however, in Idaho there is no exception to protect the mothers’ life. A doctor can be indicted and prosecuted for performing an abortion and have criminal charges brought against them.

Doctors that perform medically necessary abortions, including ones following an incomplete miscarriage or severe preeclampsia to prevent the patient from becoming dangerously ill and possibly dying, can be arrested and charged even though the medical procedure was necessary. Doctors face 2 to 5 years and nurses who support these procedures risk losing their licenses.

This is where Montana is headed. Though our state constitution currently protects women, Republicans are anxious to get a supermajority in the state legislature to enact similar laws. They have stated as much.

Since Roe was reversed, many Republican legislatures have substituted their judgments for those the doctors and patients should be making. Some states, like Oklahoma, offer citizens a bounty to anyone who successfully sues someone that aids a woman seeking an abortion. Some states are introducing laws that restrict women from traveling to another state to get an abortion. Kansas put their abortion ban to a vote and the result was overwhelming in support of women’s right to make their own decisions. Montana would likely be the same.

However, if people don’t want to go the route of states such as Idaho or Oklahoma, it is critical for every eligible voter to vote for candidates that will NOT let this happen. More specifically, if voters care about their rights and democracy, they need to vote as if both are being threatened. Because they are.