- Associated Press - Thursday, February 12, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho doctors performing abortions would have to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital under a recently introduced bill.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to introduce the bill Thursday. If passed, physicians would need admitting privileges at hospital 20 miles of where the abortion took place.

Republican Sen. Lee Heider, who is sponsoring the bill, argues it’s a common-sense measure because it better protects women’s health in the event of a botched abortion.

“We’re not trying to legislate against abortion with this bill, what we’re trying to do is legislate care to those who get abortions,” Heider said.

Heider added that similar legislation has already passed in 16 states.

However, others have pointed out that meeting admitting privileges can be challenging and the bill could force abortion clinics to shutter.

The law has also been challenged in court, questioning the constitutionality of the mandate. A federal district court judge struck down the law in Alabama last August. Around the same time, a federal appeals court struck down the measure in Mississippi. A third law of the same type was blocked partially in Wisconsin.

Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt of Moscow says he’s opposed to the bill, adding that language currently in the legislation does not differentiate between medical or surgical abortions.

The bill is currently written banning doctors without hospital privileges “to cause or perform an abortion.”

Without the distinction between medical or surgical abortions, this could apply to doctors giving pills, Schmidt says.

“This would definitely have to be amended,” he said.

Heider countered that “If that’s a consequence, that’s an unintended consequence.”

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