The ultrasound bill, and where the candidates stand: my take

Patti Anne Lodge says she asked, on three occasions, for supporters to rewrite their controversial ultrasound bill. That didn’t happen.

“I did not appreciate having to vote on that bill,” Lodge, R-Caldwell, told the Statesman editorial board Monday. Ultimately, as a pro-life Catholic, she said she came down on the side of the unborn, voting to mandate women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion.

A day later, in another candidate interview, Boise Republican House candidate Curtis Ellis related a personal story. When he was in college, he said, his girlfriend got an abortion without his knowledge. At the time, Ellis said he wouldn’t have discouraged her — believing then that an abortion would destroy only one life instead of three.

“It horrifies me, at this point of my life, to think that I thought that was a legitimate answer,” he said.

But support for ultrasound legislation — be it reluctant or intensely personal — appears limited.

In our editorial board endorsement interviews, we asked candidates where they stand on ultrasound legislation. We also asked about the issue in our online voter guide. We did so knowing that an ultrasound bill, similar to the one that stalled in the House, will likely re-emerge in 2013.

Here, again, is my scorecard on the 70 Ada and Canyon county candidates facing contested primaries on May 15:

• Twenty candidates, all Republicans, support the bill or are leaning in that direction.

• Forty-one candidates — 27 Republicans and 14 Democrats — are opposed or are leaning in that direction.

• Three Republican candidates said they are undecided or did not voice an opinion.

• Six candidates — four Republicans and two Democrats — did not respond to requests to interview with the editorial board, and did not fill out an online voter guide.

Granted, there is a lot of gray in the candidates’ positions. For example, when candidates expressed a desire to work on some sort of ultrasound bill, I put them in the “leaning yes” category. When candidates questioned the need for an ultrasound bill, or government’s role in this decision, I put them in the “leaning no” heading.

You can see my breakdown, race by race, at my Thursday blog. If you want more detail, I'd encourage you to read the detailed responses in our online voter guide — or listen to the candidate interviews.

But here’s the big picture — which spells trouble for an ultrasound bill. An unusual coalition of Democrats and conservative Republicans remains staunchly opposed to this legislation. Repeatedly, we heard from self-described pro-life candidates who opposed an ultrasound mandate that they rightly consider heavy-handed or hypocritical.

Backers of the ultrasound bill have some like-minded allies — people like Lodge and Ellis, who see this bill as a way to save the lives of the unborn. But this, evidently, remains a minority view.

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Anti-abortion

The ultrasound bill is anti-abortion in drag. Do it right, or don't do it at all.

The bill was anti-woman

And humiliating to them to their very core. They don't need a bunch of radicals forcing unneeded medical procedures on them.

The bill was anti-woman

And humiliating to them to their very core. They don't need a bunch of radicals forcing unneeded medical procedures on them.

what they say now

and which way they actually vote once in office can be two separate things. Given the response to the bill this year, I'm surprised at how many candidates said they'd vote for it or similar legislation.