I’ll admit that I am not fully aware of the Idaho Code sections when I talk with patients. I believe I have a good sense of right and wrong, but legalese confuses me. And I was a State Senator for a few years, voting on this stuff. I should know better.

I did know that I had a legal obligation to convey my concern for child or elder abuse. That was drummed into me in my training. It did put me in some awkward spots at times, but I believe I toed the line. I did make some folks mad when I called CPS about the bruises on their three-year-old that didn’t fit with the story they told. I lost their business. Don’t forget, the profession of medicine is based on principles, ethics, but fundamentally, it’s a business.

When I was first taught about this obligation I bridled. What right does the law have to oblige me to contact them? This is between me and the patient. But then you start thinking about the duty our society has to protect the vulnerable, “preserve the common good, domestic tranquility, blah blah…” While some may see this duty as just, some may see such as an infringement on their freedom.

Me, I was just a doctor, seeing patients, trying to make a living.

My hubris might have been less had I worked in the trades. Building codes are there for reasons. Understanding these reasons is worth our time.

I’m reflecting on this because tomorrow I plan to attend a seminar presented by an eminent Idaho law firm about the current state of law in Idaho around abortion.

Even the legislators who have voted for these laws admit they are a mess. Maybe they will try to sort out the problems. Maybe not. Maybe they just want to “make a statement” like our House Freedom Caucus, that ousted Speaker McCarthy.

To me, the act of governing should be considered a serious business. Maybe it’s just theater. If so, keep scrolling your feed.

Me, I was just trying to take care of the patient in the room.

So, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts. Do you want abortion to be considered a capital offense, as my State Senator has stated? Murder has no statute of limitations. Our Attorney General and county prosecutors would be very busy with this obligation.

But the lawyer arguing for Idaho’s muddled laws said “no prosecutor is stupid enough” to enforce such laws. So, these laws are just theater?

But no, the courts have weighed in again. Idaho doctors who treat women whose life is threatened by their pregnancy will not be shielded from prosecution.

Can’t you see the mess? Maybe more legislators, and I, should have done some trade work.

So, I will attend this seminar. Not because I care for pregnant patients or have ever done abortions, though, according to current Idaho law, I might have.

The Idaho legislature has bombasted itself to a current legal position of outlawing abortion, and paying an attorney with your taxpayer dollars to say, “Don’t worry, nobody would be stupid enough to enforce these…” But they haven’t done the work to actually define the issue.

Do you want to decrease abortions? We have the tools to accomplish this. We count abortions. Even out-of-state abortions performed on Idaho residents are counted. This counting has been done for years. And it showed a steady decline, for years.

If you really want to decrease abortions, we could do what Colorado did. Providing free, long-term reversible contraception to young women cut their abortion rates dramatically.

Maybe that’s not really the goal. Maybe this is just theater.

Why don’t we just burn somebody at the stake?

I’ll bet she’s female.

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
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